NAM Responds to Alarming Anti-Manufacturer Court Ruling

“If Other Courts Buy into This Theory, Which Defies Traditional Notions of Tort Law, All Manufacturers—and the Jobs They Support—Could be at Risk as Trial Lawyers Look for Their Next Payoff.”

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released the following statement on Tuesday’s ruling in the People v. ConAgra by the California 6th District Court of Appeals, which held that paint manufacturers are liable for removing lead paint in all homes built before 1951 in 10 California localities:

“Manufacturers support strong protections against exposure to lead-based paint, but this lawsuit is not the way to achieve those protections. We are extremely disappointed by Tuesday’s ruling and believe the court simply got it wrong,” said NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly, who runs the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA). “The interpretation of ‘public nuisance’ law relied upon in this case has been soundly rejected by courts in Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have spent the past two decades shopping around for a sympathetic court somewhere in America that would buy into their misguided legal theory, and they finally found it in California. Their persistence isn’t surprising, however, given the financial incentives waiting for them.

“Still, as ridiculous as this ruling is, it’s also dangerous. Today, it’s paint manufacturers potentially forced to pay for replacing paint that’s more than 66 years old in every impacted structure in some of the most populous counties in America. Tomorrow, it could be any other industry. If other courts buy into this theory, which defies traditional notions of tort law, all manufacturers—and the jobs they support—could be at risk as trial lawyers look for their next payoff.”

Given that this case is part of a broader trend of opportunistic legal tactics being used to target manufacturers, the MCLA launched the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) this week to set the record straight and highlight the concerted, coordinated efforts made by trial lawyers, public officials, deep-pocketed foundations and other activists who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturing in the United States.

The MCLA engages in a proactive legal strategy to advance policy objectives and advocate strategic manufacturing interests. The MCLA team works to rein in regulatory overreach, protect hard-fought legislative gains and ensure a level playing field for manufacturers.

To learn more about the MCLA, visit nam.org/MCLA.

To learn more about MAP, visit MFGAccountabilityProject.org

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The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org..

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