Two weeks before a landmark ruling by the California Court of Appeals that affirmed the liability of Sherwin-Williams, National Lead, and ConAgra for promoting lead paint for residential use, the companies proposed a $2 billion bond initiative that would help them escape liability. Today the Board of Supervisors passed a motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, to support legislation that prevents these companies from avoiding their court-ordered liability and place the financial burden on the tax payers.

“For years, our communities throughout the County have been exposed to lead and harmful contaminants due to the reckless oversight of these three companies,” said Supervisor Solis. “These environmental injustices must stop harming our communities, and it angers me that these lead paint companies are proposing a misleading ballot measure that would absolve themselves of liability. From lead poisoning due to the former battery recycling plant Exide in Vernon, to this massive public nuisance promoting lead paint, our families have had enough.”

Supervisor Kuehl added, “The courts were very clear in holding Sherwin-Williams, National Lead, and ConAgra liable for cynically promoting and selling lead paint for homes when they knew the dangers. We will do everything in our power to ensure that these corporations can’t use a deceptive initiative to shirk their responsibilities. Shame on them!”

After 18 years of litigation, the County of Los Angeles, along with San Francisco, Santa Clara, and seven other local governments, prevailed in a public nuisance lawsuit against Sherwin-Williams, National Lead, and ConAgra. The Courts found the companies liable for creating a massive public nuisance by promoting lead paint for residential use, while knowing it was toxic and would poison children. Now, the former manufacturers are proposing the so-called “Healthy Homes and Schools Act of 2018” that would change California law by prohibiting lead paint from being a public nuisance.

Today’s motion not only supports legislation preventing these companies from avoiding their court ordered liability, but it also supports legislation that favors the County’s judgment against the former manufacturers.

                                                                                                                                ###

Contact: Michael Kapp, Communications Director, (213) 974-4111 or mkapp@bos.lacounty.gov