After Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray dismissed the state's lead paint public nuisance lawsuit, that leaves only one other pending case of that type. That's the Santa Clara, California litigation against former lead paint companies such as Sherwin-Williams and ARCO.
Currently, the contingency arrangement in that litigation is under review by the CA Supreme Court. The trial court had ruled against the use of contingency in complaints filed by government entities. The CA appeals court ruled that contingency is acceptable if litigation is under the control of the government entity. Here is that appeals court's opinion Download H031540.
In Rhode Island and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, lead paint public nuisance lawsuits went to trial. In both cases the defendants won. In RI, the defendants won a motion for reimbursement by the plaintiff - that is the state of RI -of certain costs associated with the abatement Co-Examiner. Here is that ruling from RI Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein Download DOC. It's expected that was simply the first of a number of "invoices" for the winners in the litigation to seek compensation for certain expenses during the nine years that litigation took place.
Clearly the decision to grant reimbursement to the RI defendants is a possible deterrent to other states, counties and cities filing similar lawsuits. Did this figure into Cordray's decision to dismiss? He didn't indicate so, not explicitly at least, in his formal statement.
However, one would assume that no political leader wants to risk imposing a possible bill-back on taxpayers for the type of litigation which didn't succeed elsewhere. Overall, public nuisance as a legal strategy to bypass conventional product liability law hasn't fared well.