N.J. Court Dismisses Lead Lawsuit
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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ A judge Monday dismissed a lawsuit against the lead paint industry filed by two dozen New Jersey municipalities seeking to get lead removed from homes built before the product was banned.
Judge Marina Corodemus said it should be up to the towns to enforce laws that ensure buildings are properly maintained and free of hazards.
An attorney for Sherwin-Williams, one of the defendants, hailed the decision. ``This makes clear that litigation is not the appropriate course. Public policy should be set by the Legislature,″ Chuck Moellenberg said.
The ruling follows last week’s major victory for the paint industry in Rhode Island, where a similar lawsuit against lead paint makers ended in a mistrial.
Rhode Island was the first state to sue the industry under a public nuisance law. Other states were poised to take legal action if Rhode Island had prevailed.
Newark was the first locality in New Jersey to sue the industry; other cities and counties joined later. Calls seeking comment from attorneys representing the local governments were not immediately returned.
Lead paint was banned in 1978, after studies showed flaking paint or dust is harmful to children who eat or breathe it. Health problems include behavioral disorders, brain damage and even death.