Sides rest in Calif. lead paint trial

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) -- Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg on Thursday praised lawyers prosecuting and defending a 13-year-old lead paint public nuisance case after both sides rested at trial.

"Lawyers on both sides and their staff did an exceptional job in every way," he said. "I must tell you that 'impressed' would be too mild of a word. All of your clients ought to be extremely, extremely proud."

Kleinberg described the six-week trial experience as "difficult," but "joyous."

What awaits are a couple of deadlines for papers, but most importantly closing arguments which are set for Sept. 23.

At closing, plaintiffs will get 30 minutes for argument and 15 minutes for rebuttal. Each of the five defendants will get 30 minutes for argument and 15 minutes for rebuttal.

Ten California cities and counties are seeking declaration of public nuisance on pre-1978 built private residences with interior lead paint, as well as more than $1.2 billion in monetary damages to abate the lead in nearly 500,000 residences.

In The People of California v. Atlantic Richfield, et.al., other named defendants are The Sherwin Williams Co., Con Agra, DuPont, and NL Industries.

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