Jury Awards Plaintiffs $6 Million Against Paint Manufacturers in Wisconsin Lead Poisoning Trial

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Following a nearly 4-week long trial in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, a federal jury returned a $6 million verdict in favor of three plaintiffs for injuries incurred as a result of toxic lead paint exposure.

Following a nearly 4-week long trial in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, a federal jury returned a $6 million verdict in favor of three plaintiffs for injuries incurred as a result of toxic lead paint exposure. The jurors found that Sherwin Williams, Armstrong Container Corp. (successor to MacGregor Lead Co.), and DuPont acted unreasonably in marketing lead pigment and paint and failed to warn of its dangers to children.

The jury awarded $2 million to each plaintiff, Glenn Burton, Jr., Ravon Owens, and Cesar Sifuentes, for injuries they received from being exposed to lead-based paint as children in their homes dating back decades. Over the course of the trial, jurors heard extensive testimony about neurological testing, chemical analysis, and the health risks concerning lead paint that ultimately led to a ban on use in 1978.

The case is one of few to have gone to trial under a unique Wisconsin “risk contribution theory” law established by the state Supreme Court in 2005, and this is the first verdict of its kind under the law.

“The jury carefully considered all of the evidence establishing that these companies were negligent and created an unimaginable risk of harm, said Ed Wallace, co-lead trial counsel and Wexler Wallace attorney for the plaintiffs. “They realized that our clients have and will continue to suffer for the rest of their lives because of the acts of these three defendants.”

“Poisoning from lead-based paint has lasting, long-term effects, especially for children exposed at young ages,” said Fidelma Fitzpatrick, co-lead trial counsel and Motley Rice lawyer for the plaintiffs. “Some of these lasting exposure effects, sadly include issues have and will impact them for their entire lives. We are gratified that the jury came to the conclusion that companies that knowingly manufactured these toxic products should be held accountable for the harmful, life altering effects they have caused. It was a privilege to give a voice to these young men in court.”

The cases are Glenn Burton, JR. v. American Cyanamid CO., et al. – Case No. 07-cv-0303, Ravon Owens v. American Cyanamid CO., et al. – Case No. 07-cv-0441, and Cesar Sifuentes v. American Cyanamid Co., et al. – Case No. 10-cv-0075 in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Edward Wallace of Wexler Wallace LLP and Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick of Motley Rice LLC were lead trial counsel. Other Wexler Wallace attorneys for the plaintiffs were Mark R. Miller, Lauren C. Kaplan, and Umar Sattar. Co-counsel were Robert J. McConnell, Sara O. Couch, and Caroline Rion of Motley Rice LLC, Vic Harding of the Warshafsky Law Firm, Peter Earle of the Law Office of Peter Earle, and Neil Leifer of Neil T. Leifer Law, LLC. For more information, please contact Edward Wallace at 312-485-0009 (eaw@wexlerwallace.com).

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