SANTA CLARA, Calif.
Dec. 16, 2013
The following may be attributed to Bonnie J. Campbell, spokesperson for defendants ConAgra Grocery Products Company, NL Industries, Inc. and The Sherwin-Williams Company. Campbell is the former Attorney General of Iowa and led the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women during the Clinton Administration.
"Today's decision is at odds with
law and judicial decisions across the country that have uniformly rejected similar public nuisance claims. Beginning with the trial court's refusal to allow a jury to decide the case, as defendants requested, the court has misinterpreted the law. The decision violates the federal and state constitutions by penalizing manufacturers for the truthful advertising of lawful products, done at a time when government officials routinely specified those products for use in residential buildings. No public health official recommended any restriction on that use, because the risks to children alleged today were unknown and unknowable decades ago. The decision rewards scofflaw landlords who are responsible for the risk to children from poorly maintained lead paint, and it conflicts with and threatens to upend
lead poisoning prevention programs, which work. This decision is more likely to hurt children than help them, and it will likely disrupt the sale, rental, and market value of all homes and apartments built before 1978."
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Bonnie J. Campbell