Ex-Lead Paint Firms Seek Reimbursements after R.I. Suit

August 11, 2008

Three former lead paint companies want to be reimbursed for some of the costs of defending against a public nuisance lawsuit filed by the state of Rhode Island.

Last month, the state Supreme Court overturned a
first-in-the-nation jury verdict
that found Sherwin-Williams Co.,
NL Industries, Inc. and Millennium Holdings LLC liable for creating
a public nuisance by manufacturing a toxic product, lead paint.

Lawyers for the companies are now seeking a refund from the state. As a starting point, on July 24 they asked a judge to force the state to pay more than $242,000 for the cost of a special master who evaluated cleanup plans, transcript fees and conference call charges.

The attorney general’s office says that sovereign immunity protects the state from paying for litigation costs.

The judge has not ruled on the request.

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