By Josh Beckerman
Sherwin-Williams Co. (SHW), NL Industries and Conagra Brands ConAgra Grocery Products unit have settled litigation with 10 California counties and cities related to the companies' advertising for lead paint.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the settlement totaled $305 million.
The federal government banned the use of lead paint in homes in 1978. The companies had argued that they were being penalized for truthful advertising of a product that was legal and commonly used at the time.
Sherwin-Williams said Wednesday the agreement dissolves the residential lead paint abatement program that the plaintiffs sought from the court and "represents a significant reduction in their recovery."
Sherwin-Williams said that while it "continues to believe that this litigation was unfair, unwarranted and unwise, the resolution announced today will enable all parties to move forward and is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders."
Mr. Herrera said, "We have fought to hold these companies accountable for nearly twenty years, and will finally have needed funds to devote to protecting our children from lead poisoning." He said the settlement provides "flexibility to create more expansive, efficient, and effective clean-up programs."
In May 2018, NL Industries reached a settlement agreement, and recorded a related $62 million pretax charge in the 2018 second quarter. NL said the other defendants filed motions with the trial court objecting to the terms of the settlement.
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