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VC to Receive $46 Million to Remove Lead Paint from Local Homes

On Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James P. Kleinberg issued a final verdict ordering Sherwin Williams, National Lead and ConAgra to pay $1.15 billion into a fund to remove lead paint from homes in various California counties and cities. This decision, the largest public nuisance award in the history of the State of California, comes after 13 years of litigation.

The Court increased the final verdict and judgment from a previously tentative $1.1 billion to a final amount of $1.15 billion. Proceeds from the award will be utilized to abate the problem in each county which participated in the litigation. Ventura County’s share of the verdict is $46 million.

Childhood exposure to lead, even at low levels, has been shown to affect IQ, the ability to pay attention and even academic achievement. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body, but because it often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes undetected.

“Far too many households in Ventura County have children living in them who are being exposed to lead,” said Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County’s Public Health Officer. “Childhood lead poisoning poses a significant health risk and this money will provide us with the necessary resources to finally indentify and abate lead paint hazards effectively.”

The County of Ventura will be responsible for administering its lead-abatement program, which will include: public education; homeowner outreach and enrollment; contractor outreach and workforce development; prioritization of homes for inspection and remediation according to the Court’s criteria; performing, and/or contracting for, inspections, risk assessments and remediation; design of all hazard-control plans for each property designated for hazard control; and oversight and quality control of contractors. Further information can be found within the accompanying information package prepared by the firm of COTCHETT, PITRE & McCARTHY, LLP, the County’s outside counsel for this case.

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