After four days of deliberations, a six-person jury declared themselves "hopelessly deadlocked" in a lawsuit brought by the state of Rhode Island against eight former lead paint manufacturers.
The suit sought to hold the makers liable for lead poisoning in approximately 35,000 children in the state since 1993. This trial is important because it marks the first time a state has brought charges against lead paint manufacturers under public nuisance law.
Due to the deadlock, a mistrial was declared. Rhode Island Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse told the Associated Press that the state would be ready to re-try the case within the next several weeks.
Officials in at least six other states are contemplating bringing lawsuits against companies who once manufactured lead paint. The paint was banned in 1978, after studies showed that children can suffer behavioral disorders and brain damage after eating or breathing it.