NL Industries Inc. is one of five paint companies that presented closing arguments against a public-nuisance lawsuit by 10 California cities and counties seeking more than $1 billion to replace or contain lead paint in millions of homes.
Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg in San Jose,California, interrupted closing arguments by Don Scott, a lawyer for NL Industries, who relied on studies by U.S .doctors to claim that the companies didn’t know about the potential forlead poisoning in children in the first half of the 20th century, as the counties and cities have claimed.
Kleinberg, who is hearing the case, asked Scott about what he said was a “flat-out ban” of lead paint in Europe in the early 1900s, and a 1918 advertisement by Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont Co. that “distinguished themselves away from lead paint.”
“Is it your position that if the American doctors that you cite say X, that’s the end of the issue, and that the court should not be concerned with these other pieces of evidence that are undisputed?” Kleinberg asked. “I am troubled by the idea that because American doctors, fine people I’m sure they were,say XYZ that’s the end of the inquiry.”
Scott replied that the laws in Europe were a “mixed bag”in which some countries banned lead paint earlier than others.
‘Prevailing Standard’“The fact is that on the question of what is pertinent tothis case, we’re looking at...