Sherwin-Williams Seeks Answers on R.I. Lead Paint Cleanup

November 14, 2007

Paint firm Sherwin-Williams Co. has demanded more information about the state’s proposed $2.4 billion cleanup of properties contaminated with lead paint, saying the plan has too many unanswered questions.

Sherwin-Williams, based in Cleveland, is one of three former lead paint manufacturers found liable last year of creating a public nuisance in a landmark lawsuit brought by the Rhode Island attorney general.

In September, the state proposed a multi-billion dollar cleanup of roughly 240,000 properties containing lead paint that it said would take four years and require 10,000 workers. The companies would have to pay for the work if the ruling stands.

The companies are appealing the February 2006 verdict.

Sherwin-Williams, in court papers filed last week, identified 20 broad categories of questions about the plan that it said still needed to be answered, including which specific properties are covered by the plan and how many children, if any, live in those homes.

It also wants to know how the companies will be able to gain access to contaminated properties and how reluctant homeowners will be forced to participate in the cleanup program.

Charles Moellenberg, a lawyer for Sherwin-Williams, said the company was seeking an evidentiary hearing to explore those and other issues.

“We’re concerned that in this situation, the attorney general and his lawyers are trying to get off to the races too quickly,” Moellenberg said. “We’d like the court to slow down and follow what is the normal course of procedures in any case.”

The other two companies that lost the case, NL Industries Inc. and Millennium Holdings LLC, did not join in Sherwin-Williams’ motion.

Jack McConnell, a lawyer who represents the state, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Monday.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.