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Milwaukee loses lead paint case

June 25, 2007
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A Milwaukee County Circuit Court jury has ruled in favor of NL Industries, a paint company that was being sued by the city of Milwaukee for selling lead-based paint, bizjournals.com reports. The lawsuit sought up to $52.6 million in damages from NL Industries to cover the cost of the city''s lead paint abatement program, according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit charges the firm with creating a public nuisance by allegedly producing lead-based paint even after the company knew of the health risks. The city of Milwaukee initially filed the lawsuit in April 2001 against two paint manufacturers—Mautz Paint Co. of Madison and NL Industries Inc., basied in Houston but also had a plant in Wisconsin. Mautz is now owned by Sherwin-Williams Co. based out of Cleveland. The court severed the Mautz case from the NL Industries case in February. The companies were also sued for false advertising for allegedly failing to warn the public of the dangers of lead-based paint. Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Dugan dismissed the false advertising claim and a conspiracy claim against Mautz Paint and NL Industries in October 2001, and dismissed the case entirely in July 2003. The State Court of Appeals reinstated the case in November 2004, ruling unanimously that it should go to a jury trial.

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