The full Seventh Circuit won’t reconsider its reversal of a $6 million verdict against The Sherwin-Williams Co. and two other paint makers over claims that they sold lead-based paint that caused brain damage to three men as youths.
Those men — Cesar Sifuentes, Glenn Burton Jr. and Ravon Owens — argued last month that a three-judge panel’s verdict reversal “rewrites the script” and “creates new and significant legal hurdles” for not just their risk-contribution case, but also for more than 150 similar cases pending against Sherwin-Williams and fellow defendants DuPont Co. and Armstrong Containers Inc.
No judges on the Seventh Circuit panel voted to rehear the case and no active judges on the court requested a vote on the en banc rehearing request.
Sifuentes, Burton and Owens, all adults now, were screened for lead poisoning between ages 2 and 3 and were found to have high levels of lead in their blood.
The jury’s verdict, which was later reduced to $4.8 million, found that Armstrong, DuPont and Sherwin-Williams sold white lead carbonate pigment that was “defective and unreasonably dangerous due to inadequate warnings” and that each was a cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries.
The paint companies argued on appeal that a series of pretrial rulings improperly expanded the focus beyond their production of a highly toxic paint pigment called white lead carbonate, which they’ve long stopped producing, to include finished paint products marketed with the pigment.
The appellate panel agreed in April that a lower court’s improper expansion of Wisconsin liability law allowed the companies to be held liable for their capacity as paint makers despite two of them not making harmful white lead carbonate pigments for decades, thus leaving them “scrambling” to present a proper defense.