California judge ups lead paint verdict to $1.15B

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A California judge has increased by $50 million the amount that paint makers will have to pay into a fund to remove lead paint from homes across the state.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James P. Kleinberg on Tuesday issued a final verdict ordering Sherwin Williams, National Lead and ConAgra to pay $1.15 billion after finding that the companies knew the paint was harmful to children.

A tentative ruling issued in December after a five-week nonjury trial had said the companies would have to pay $1.1 billion.

Throughout the case, the industry had argued that the old paint is not a significant public health risk and that the companies never deliberately sold a harmful product.

Kleinberg rejected those arguments Tuesday, citing documents dating back to 1900.

The 10 jurisdictions awarded damages are the counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Mateo, Solano and Ventura, and the cities of Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco.

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