What a difference voters make: State of Ohio Files Suit Against Paint Makers over Public Nuisance of Lead Poisoning

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 04/04/2007 - 13:35.


YES - this is a huge story... the State of Ohio is suing Sherwin Williams and other paint manufacturers over the public nuisance caused by lead paint they sold here over decades... the state is joining five Ohio cities in this battle for our citizens - this case could very well take over the battle for the cities - very exciting times for our down-trodden state.  It is exciting to see the new Ohio leadership in action, after so many years of poor performance by past administrations.

That's exactly what Ohio voters told our leadership we wanted, when we stripped all possible power away from those who drove Ohio to a state of crisis and embarrassment. Two of the most astounding actions taken by the new Governor, Ted Strickland, and his Attorney General, Marc Dann, have been designed to protect citizens from lead poisoning - the last-second veto of last-trough Senate Bill 117, intended to limit the legal rights of Ohio citizens and communities... and now the action by the state of Ohio to sue 10 paint manufacturers responsible for covering our communities in lead paint, causing $ billions in damage to our economy and ruining 100,000s of lives here. To learn more about how lead paint ruins lives, and what responsible community leaders are doing about that, please register immediately for the Annual Meeting of the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council (GCLAC), where national experts will join 100s of concerned government and social leaders and education, environment and health professionals for forums on "Lead Poisoning and Education... How Lead Poisoning Challenges School Performance".... Registration here! There will be representation from the Governor's office and other state, regional and local government departments and social agencies, learning together the latest insight on lead poisoning and learning. Anyone interested in why our children are failing in school, the local economy is faltering, we have so much violence, property values are poor, and other aspects of our quiet crisis in Ohio should attend, and celebrate our new Governor for doing so many things about that, including pursuing solutions to our lead poisoning crisis, working with all parties involved, including the paint manufacturers.

From the article about this litigation in the Plain Dealer today, there is a telling conclusion...

Through spokeswoman Bonnie Campbell, a former attorney general of Iowa, the companies issued a joint e-mailed statement: "This groundless litigation is bad public policy, bad for Ohio's kids and bad for Ohio's workers and economy. This lawsuit is a time-consuming distraction from proven solutions that protect children."

Dann said earlier this year that he had offered to help Sherwin-Williams reach a resolution of its lead paint issues but that the paint company declined.

 In working with the GCLAC, I learned that health and government leaders in the Cleveland area also "offered to help Sherwin-Williams reach a resolution of its lead paint issues" and they were rebuffed. I also personally contacted a Partner at Jones Day I knew and suggested they help their client Sherwin Williams avoid impending litigation in Ohio and I was told that was not something that would be considered. So, Sherwin Williams and Jones Day are the ones not supporting "proven solutions" pursued by members of the GCLAC.

I really love seeing the blackmail response of Sherwin Williams' representative - "This groundless litigation is bad public policy, bad for Ohio's kids and bad for Ohio's workers and economy". Anything done in this state to increase awareness about all issues of lead poisoning is good for all - the legal position of the paint industry is an insult to the intelligence of our community, and shows the bad attitude and intent of their counsel. In the state that was first to sue the paint industry, and win, lead poisoning rates are declining... not because the paint companies have done anything good, like helping to pay for eradication, but because such a high profile case and ruling creates awareness, which leads to all other sorts of action.

I send congratulations to Governor Strckland and Attorney General Dann for doing your jobs well, and growing awareness, dialog and action in our state to address the lead poisoning crisis here - and I pity those at Sherwin Williams and their counsel for the shame they must feel, caused by their poor leadership. There are better ways to make a living - come to the GCLAC forum on lead poisoning and education and seek truth, and through that the opportunity for redemption.

FREE Vacuum Cleaner, Home Repairs, Lead Check

Call 216-263-LEAD (5323) This flyer should be available at all the local libraries and especially calls attention to pregnant women and families with children under six years old.  Cleveland Department of Public Health, Lead Safe Living and Cuyahoga County Board of Health offer the program.

GCP worried about Lead Paint Law

Biz groups decry state’s paint suit

6:00 am, April 9, 2007

The Greater Cleveland Partnership and two other Ohio business groups say the lawsuit filed last week by Ohio Attorney General Mark Dann against 10 paintmakers will send a chilling message to businesses deciding where to locate operations.

The suit claims that the paint companies, including Sherwin-Williams Co. of Cleveland, should be held responsible for neurological problems and learning disabilities that result from ingesting lead paint flakes.

The business groups, including the Ohio Business Roundtable and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, said in a statement, “The lawsuit could erode the recent improvements made in the Ohio business environment through passage of tort reform and tax reform.”

Well I guess so... This is not news, just what we would expect. The chilling message this lawsuit will send to other businesses -- "take your childendangering, polluting business somewhere else or clean it up, cause we've been a dumping ground long enough."

Erode the improvements made in the business environment? What about the plain old environment? Consider that for a millisecond will ya?

Hey... good message Marc Dann!

Sherwin-Williams GCP Board Member

The argument among businesses interests is that lead litigation is anti-business, but the Lead Forum Friday will show doing everything possible to eliminate the hazard of lead in our community will result in a stronger workforce and many other positive outcomes - what GCP has to say on this issue is irrelevant as Sherwin Williams in a member of the GCP Board

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Legacy is difficult to shake in NEO.  Between the Legacy here and the corruption here there is not much latitude.

Cleveland Foundation not as political as GCP

There are lots of Sherwin Williams and Jones Day folks in powerful places in NEO, and some are political and some are commendable. GCP in particular is entirely political and so should not be viewed as a news source or impartial industry analyst.

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