Monday, October 24, 2005

SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE


A rowdy group of nearly 500 persons organized by ACORN crashed a staid business meeting of national paint-industry executives Sunday at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, demanding accountability for decades of lead paint sales.

The Paint Big Wigs were surprised when members of ACORN flooded their third floor meeting room.

After raising a racket that put the meeting on hold, the crowd departed when J. Andrew Doyle, the paint association president, agreed to speak with a small group of ACORN leaders. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Doyle went to a side room and signed a written agreement to meet in Washington, D.C., with leaders of the protest group within 30 days to listen to their concerns about lead paint.

Marcel Reid, president of D.C. ACORN, told the Plain Dealer she and other members were pleased with the turnout and Doyle's agreement to meet with the group's leaders.

After the agreement, ACORN members carrying banners, placards and bullhorns marched from Public Square to a Sherwin-Williams Co. office on nearby Prospect Avenue for a brief protest. Although the office was closed, the activists shouted, "We are ACORN, mighty, mighty ACORN!" and waved banners that said, "They Knew for Decades" about the health problems associated with lead paint.

Meanwhile a groundbreaking case against lead paint manufacturers is set to begin in Rhode Island. The suit filed on behalf of the Rhode Island Attorney General says lead paint manufacturers created a public nuisance. The litigation is an effort by the State to make the lead pigment manufacturers take responsibility for the pervasive health hazard confronted by the Rhode Island public, including its children, parents,

Originally filed in 1999, the suit alleges that paint manufacturers helped to create a significant public health crisis in the state of Rhode Island by manufacturing, distributing and promoting lead-based paint products. Opening statements will begin Thursday, October 27 in Providence. The first trial in ended in a hung jury. Defendants in the case include NL Industries, Sherwin-Williams, Millennium Holdings and Atlantic Richfield.

The Rhode Island Department of Health says nearly 100 Rhode Island children are lead-poisoned each and every month.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, the litigation is an effort by the State to make the lead pigment manufacturers take responsibility for the pervasive health hazard confronted by the Rhode Island public, including its children, parents, homeowners, landlords and taxpayers.

Jack McConnell, a resident of Rhode Island and a member at Motley Rice LLC (which is handling the case along with the Attorney General’s office and co-counsel Thornton & Naumes of Boston, Mass. ) says, "We are extremely anxious to get this trial started so that we may help bring justice on behalf of all the children in our state who have been needlessly injured by lead paint. It's time for corporations to both accept responsibility for the public health problem that exists as a result of lead paint and to also help aid in the clean-up." Sources: News5 (Cleveland), Business Wire, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal

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