The difficulty Steven Thomas had learning was of interest to an amazingly large audience.
The 17-year-old's lawyers argued one of the first civil cases against the makers of lead paint, arguing that Steven's exposure to lead paint dust over the course of his early childhood had led to his mental retardation. Parents and children, and their lawyers, from around the country have been watching the case because it could set precedents for their own attempts to hold the makers of lead paint liable for the damage lead does to developing brains.
Yesterday, a Wisconsin Jury decided against Steven Wilson, deeming that his brain damage could not be attributed to exposure to lead.
Paint makers didn't argue that lead doesn't cause brain damage. They just said proper maintenance prevents exposure, which is true, and that landlords -- not the maker of the toxic product -- should be liable, if anyone, for the generations of children whose IQ is a little lower thanks to lead paint. (Steven's family previously won $300,000 from former landlords, according to USA Today.)
The case is only the latest setback for people trying to win concessions from the makers of lead paint.
"The verdict is the latest in a nearly unbroken chain of failed lawsuits against paint makers. Since 1987, attorneys in 17 states have filed about 100 lawsuits, with one success: A Rhode Island jury ordered three companies to pay for the cleanup of 300,000 lead-tainted homes in 2005," according to USA Today. "The paint makers are appealing the verdict, which would cost $2.4 billion."
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