Tomorrow is a big day in the legal - and business - sectors. Attorneys on both sides will make closing arguments in class-action lawsuit "Santa Clara v ARCO." Within 90 days in this bench trial, Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg will make his ruling.
If the five defendants or any of them lose, the odds are there will be similiar public nuisance lawsuits filed throughout California and in other states where lead paint had been used in residences. In "Santa Clara" the 10 plaintiffs are only requesting abatement, which could run more than a $1 billion. Other municipalities could also try to get damages.
That kind of money could become a business and investor issue for the defendants Sherwin-Williams, DuPont, ConAgra, NL Industries, and ARCO. Some could fear "another tobacco." The brandnames of the companies could also suffer.
In terms of brandnames are those of the losing attorneys. Much of the new business development in the legal sector has become a zero sum game. Law firm marketing hammers recent wins. Prospects are aware of recent losses.
Another matter is the viability of the class action lawsuit. After the U.S. Supreme Court was tough on "commonality" in "Dukes v WalMart," some predicted that, as a tool, the large class action was not going to be the way to go. A win by the plaintiffs could change that. There could be another Golden Age of the class action. Lots of money is at stake, especially for lawyers. Could that boost manpower needs in the legal sector? Could there finally be a recovery after the Crash of 2007?