Big, though expected, ruling yesterday in the long-running Motley Rice extravaganza: "A judge on Monday ordered three former lead paint manufacturers to clean up contamination in Rhode Island and said he would appoint a special master to advise him on exactly what the companies should be required to do. Lawyers and financial analysts have said the cleanup could cost more than $1 billion." (Associated Press; Providence Business News; ruling (197 pages!) in PDF format; statement on behalf of some defendants; Providence Journal blog). Judge Michael Silverstein denied the companies' request for a new trial; appeal is considered likely. At Law and More, Jane Genova quotes a Wall Street source who says the paint makers' stocks were not hammered too badly because the ruling had been widely anticipated, and because Judge Silverstein refrained from naming a high dollar figure. More coverage at Genova's site here and here. A blog called Rhode Island's Future crows about the ruling, its author Matt Jerzyk freely admitting that he is not the most detached imaginable observer ("Disclosure: I am a law clerk at Motley Rice.") And Byron Steir has a post here. For previous coverage at this site, see, e.g., here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, and Jim Copland's column here. Previous coverage at Overlawyered can be found here, here and here.
P.S. David Nieporent, guest-posting at Overlawyered, analyzes the ruling as a case study in "litigation as Robin Hood-style wealth redistribution".