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Heartland Institute Amicus Brief: State of Rhode Island v. Lead Industries Association

January 31, 2008

The Heartland Institute on January 31, 2008, submitted as amicus curiae (a friend of the court) a brief in support of reversal of the jury verdict last year against the paint company defendants in the State's public nuisance lawsuit.

gavel and book

The Heartland Institute on January 31, 2008, submitted as amicus curiae (a friend of the court) a brief in support of reversal of the jury verdict last year against the paint company defendants in the State's public nuisance lawsuit. The verdict found that the "collective" presence of lead-based paint in private residences and other buildings amounted to a public nuisance.

The ramifications of this verdict, and associated rulings by the trial court, are of great concern to Heartland. Any residence built before 1978 (the year when lead-based paint was banned) has now been declared to be a public nuisance, thus impairing its value. The verdict also effectively does away with well-established rules of product liability, replacing it with a system of unlimited liability perpetual in nature. Any product could be next.

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Maureen Martin, a former legal fellow at The Heartland Institute, passed away on February 5, 2013.