U.S. Chamber Denounces Santa Clara County Court's Lead Paint Ruling

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December 17, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), issued the following statement today denouncing the Santa Clara County Superior Court’s decision to expand liability to companies for selling products that they had no way of knowing could harm consumers. The decision came in The People of California v. Atlantic Richfield Company et al., a case involving the marketing of lead paint.

“The message to businesses from this ruling is: If you don’t have a crystal ball, you can be sued. Under the court’s logic, it doesn’t matter if businesses had no way of knowing about harms caused by products – they can still be sued, even decades after the products were sold. Courts in seven other states have rightly rejected this outrageous theory.

“This ruling opens the flood gates for a surge of frivolous lawsuits and sets a dangerous precedent for other activist courts across the country to follow.”