Friday, December 14, 2007

Lead paint lawsuit dismissed

The Blade is reporting the dismissal of the City of Toledo's lawsuit against paint manufacturers who legally had lead in their products in the past.

I'm pleased about this outcome for a couple of reasons:

1) I don't believe that companies who do something legally should be sued to cover negative consequences of such legal activity decades into the future. It makes sense that companies would WANT to help with such issues as part of a successful public relations campaign. But for a municipality to sue to force such action seems like a waste of municipal resources, especially in Toledo when those legal resources can be focused on more important things like finding legal reasons to justify allowing the mayor to bring his dog into a state-owned building that has rules against that sort of thing...

2) The ruling in terms of what our laws currently are regarding product liability makes sense:

"In her opinion, which was released Wednesday, (Common Pleas) Judge (Ruth Ann) Franks agreed with the companies' contention that the city's claim of public nuisance "is actually a claim under Ohio's Product Liability Act."

Based on that decision, Judge Franks said that the claims are barred by the statutes of limitations.

"The court has found that [the city's] public nuisance claim against the [companies] must fail as it was filed outside of the applicable statute of limitations. [The city] has not asserted another theory upon which [the companies] are liable to [the city] in tort. Accordingly, [the city's] claim for punitive damages fails," the opinion said."

Yes - punitive damages ... trying to extract a punitive judgment for doing what was legal at the time ... again, has common sense just flown out the window? Oh - sorry, forgot we're talking about Toledo city government.

3) I don't understand why the city incurs the cost of lead paint abatement in the first place. Homeowners should do that on their own. Besides, it's not the paint that's a problem, it's when the paint flakes and then is ingested - primarily by children. So...if you've got lead paint in your house and it's flaking - take care of it! And if you've got children in your house - don't let them eat flaked off paint chips, whether they've got lead in them or not!

4) Finally, if the city was so concerned about lead paint dust and flakes, you'd think they would have handled the sandblasting of the lead paint on their bridge(s) a bit differently - don't you? How much lead dust did that release into the air to be absorbed by all the people living downwind of the activity?

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