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State v. Lead Indus. Ass'n

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20155
Nos. No. 2004-63-MP, (R.I., 07/01/2008)

The Rhode Island Supreme Court reversed a jury verdict finding three lead paint producers liable for creating a public nuisance. The state has not and cannot allege any set of facts to support its public nuisance claim that would establish that defendants interfered with a public right or that defendants were in control of the lead pigment they, or their predecessors, manufactured at the time it caused harm to Rhode Island children. Defendants were not in control of any lead pigment at the time the lead caused harm to children in Rhode Island, making defendants unable to abate the alleged nuisance, the standard remedy in a public nuisance action. However grave the problem of lead poisoning is in Rhode Island, public nuisance law simply does not provide a remedy for this harm.