Former manufacturers of lead paint found liable last week by a Rhode Island jury for poisoning of children will have to pay to clean up properties with the contaminated paint but will not face punitive damages.
Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein decided in favor of the paint makers on the punitive damages question and against the state, which brought the suit and which had argued for further damages.
The jury found Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries Inc. and Millennium Holdings LLC liable for creating a “public nuisance” by selling lead paint and decided that they must clean up contaminated paint in the state, which some officials have said could cost as much as $3 billion.
The court has yet to decide what the firms will have to do and spend for cleaning up.
The case and the punitive damages ruling have been awaited by other states where lead-poisoning lawsuits are pending.
The paint companies have denied direct responsibility for any poisoning.
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