A federal jury in Milwaukee, Wis., awarded three men $2 million each in their lawsuit against paint and pigment companies, the Star Tribune reports. The men claimed the companies, Sherwin-Williams, Armstrong, Container Corp., and DuPont, were responsible for the lead poisoning each suffered as toddlers in their homes.
The plaintiffs did not have to prove which specific product poisoned them under Wisconsin's unique "risk contribution theory," which was established by the state Supreme Court in 2005. The companies had to prove they were not marketing or providing their products in Milwaukee at the time the plaintiffs claim they were sickened.
Sherwin-Williams plans to appeal.
"Sherwin-Williams Company has a strong history of working together with public health officials to remove lead from paints decades before the government banned lead paint for residential use and to provide information to the public about the potential risks of deteriorated lead paint," said Antonio Dias, one of Sherwin-Williams' attorneys.
A 2018 Supreme Court ruling required Sherwin-Williams and two other companies pay for more than $400 million for lead-paint remediation in California. The decision alleged the manufacturer "knew or should have known" lead paint was hazardous and advertisements from the company prior to lead paint's ban were misleading. Emboldened by the success in California, several counties in Pennsylvania attempted to bring lawsuits against the company, alleging it created a "public nuisance" by promoting lead paint.