Coal industry executives ought to pay attention to the lead paint lawsuit currently happening in the California court system.
Recently, a lawsuit was filed against the makers of lead paint, alleging that the industry knew about the toxicity of their product and yet still promoted it as “safe” to the public. The industry has faced many lawsuits over their products in the past, most of which were unsuccessful for the victims, due to the fact that the industry was often up front about the dangers of their products, and they funded public studies to determine the health effects.
But things have changed in the American legal system, and attorneys are now taking a page out of the tobacco litigation playbook. By unearthing documents that detail the lead paint industry’s attempted cover-up of the dangers, they avoid the “buyer beware” caveat that the tobacco industry used for so long.
And just like the tobacco industry, lead paint manufacturers were specifically targeting children with their ads. The California lawsuit is making that a central part of the trial. Also reminiscent of the tobacco litigation, the suit was filed by cities and municipalities, not individual victims, greatly increasing the chance for success.
The coal industry should be paying very close attention to the progress of this litigation, as their activities could become the next target of skilled attorneys. For decades, the coal industry has been poisoning American citizens with their coal-mining, -burning and -dumping activities. Additionally, the dismal working conditions for miners has cost many families an unnecessary loss of life.