Basic BusinessCaseCounty of Santa Clara, et al, v. Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., In the court of Appeal of the State of California Sixth Appellate District, Superior Court.
FactsA group of governmental entities, including the counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano initially brought suit to the Atlantic Richfield Company, et al, a group of lead manufacturers who were using lead in paints. The governmental entities "alleged that the manufacturers were liable on theories of strict product liability, negligence and fraud for damages caused by lead paint, should be required to abate the public nuisance created by lead paint, and should be enjoined and ordered to pay restitution, disgorge profits and pay civil penalties due to their unfair business practices regarding lead paint." (County of Santa Clara, et al, v Atlantic Richfield Company, et al.) The manufacturer's filed repeated demurrers (motion to dismiss).
IssueThe plaintiff's argued that there was still lead in the paints supplied by the defendants although it the levels may have been low.
The plaintiffs argued that the paint still posed a threat to people." Many of plaintiffs' specific allegations of false representations were from long ago and related to defendants' efforts to avoid a ban on lead paint. Defendants had known about the dangers of lead for nearly a century but had engaged in "a concerted effort to hide the dangers of Lead" from the government and the public. The defendants had promoted lead paint for many years for interior use and claimed that it was safe. The defendant demurred the case on several occasions and disputed that they had committed fraud in the sale and advertisement of their paint products. The plaintiff's claimed that the use of these paints in many building left people at risk. "Defendants' efforts to avoid regulation...