What Happened to the $1.15B Lead Paint Lawsuit in Santa Clara?

Holding Lead Paint Manufacturers Accountable for Selling and Marketing a Product that Poisons Thousands of California Children Each Year (County of Santa Clara, et al. v. Atlantic Richfield, et al.)

You would think that with a name like that this would be a strong lawsuit. Well, it was.
Read what the Santa Clara’s Office of the County Counsel has to say. This link will provide complete information on this case.

This lawsuit was filed in 2000. Other cities around Santa Clara Clara joined the lawsuit.

Original Ruling

In 2013 Honorable Judge James P. Kleinberg of Santa Clara Superior Court issued a $1.15B award for the People/Defendants to use to clean up the mess.

WOW – that’s a LOT of money. And a project like cleaning up the lead paint in the Bay Area will need every penny. Probably more.


However, the Defendants appealed, first to the California Court of Appeals, who heard the case, and, later, to the US Supreme Court who did not hear the case.

The California Court of Appeals revised the award downward to $406M and limited the scope to homes that were built before 1951 and sent the case to trial court for further proceedings to limit the $1.15B abatement fund to determine how much money would be needed and the procedures needed to distribute the money.

Ballot Initiative

In the meantime, the Santa Clara Office of the County Counsel tried to introduce a ballot measure to clean up the lead, mold, and asbestos. The need to do this work is clearly now and this ballot measure would have provided funds to do this with eventual repayment from the Awards from the litigation. After the legislators realized what a large amount of money would be needed, the ballot measure was removed.


Now it seems as though the $400M will be distributed through the Cities and Counties that sued and were not eliminated by the Court of Appeals.

Maybe. There is no information on how to obtain funds to fix your home or when the money will actually be distributed. Or who will be in charge of distribution?

So, that’s what happened to the $1.15B that was needed to clean up all the properties and soil that was affected to keep our children safe. The money is locked in a losing battle of the courts and City and County bureaucracy and time.

So, to keep our children safe.  Use 1978 and before as your benchmark for lead-based paint in buildings, water, and soil.

Give us a call to discuss your project at 415-337-2923

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