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Unanimous Wisconsin high court: lead pigment not defectively designed

The report comes by email from James Cordrey of Lexis/Nexis-Mealey's. "The Wisconsin Supreme Court today unanimously affirmed an appellate court ruling and held that lead pigment is not defectively designed, dismissing a lead-poisoned boy's claims for strict liability and negligence against the former manufacturers of white lead carbonate pigment (Ruben Baez Godoy v. E.I. duPont de Nemours and Co., et al., No. 2006AP2670, Wis. Sup." It sounds like a devastating setback for the well-organized mass tort campaign, which continues to press county and municipal recoupment litigation in California and elsewhere. Jane Genova has a link to the decision (PDF); statement of defense attorney Charles H. Moellenberg, Jr. of Jones Day; NLJ.

More: Maybe not so devastating to plaintiffs, as Julie Triedman, AmLaw Litigation Daily, notes: Fidelma Fitzpatrick of Motley Rice, who represents the plaintiff in the Godoy case,

points out that the court did not strike Godoy's failure to warn claim, and the case is expected to go forward on those grounds, as will a flood of other individual claims. Fitzpatrick says Motley Rice has an inventory of more than 200 such claims. ...

The Wisconsin high court's ruling is unlikely to change Wisconsin's status as ground zero for individual lead paint injury claims, says McGuireWoods' [Joy] Fuhr [who defended the case]. Wisconsin achieved that status exactly four years ago when it became the only state to permit individuals to file product liability claims even if they can't identify the specific manufacturer whose product caused the poisoning.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.