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Maryland lead-paint legislation

In their campaign against companies that once made lead paint, trial lawyers have adapted a tactic used earlier in the tobacco and gun campaigns, namely to push for legislation making it retroactively easier to bring liability claims against manufacturers. Such legislation was floated a few years ago, unsuccessfully, in Massachusetts; this year the campaign has made a particular target of Maryland, a state notorious (with Florida and Vermont) for having in the 1990s passed retroactive liability-expanding bills to strengthen the hand of state AGs suing the tobacco industry.

There is, however, good news to report: the Judiciary Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates has voted thumbs down on H.B. 1392, a bill that would establish backward-looking "market-share liability" so as to make it easier to extract dollars from FDR-era paint makers. Still pending is a companion bill, H.B. 1441 HB 1447, that would open up "public nuisance" theories of the sort that recently proved successful at trial in Rhode Island. Jane Genova has details on both bills (and also some kind words for my work, for which thanks)(& thanks to David Thomasson for correcting the bill number).



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.