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January 16, 2005 - Lead Exposure Case Dismissal Upheld

An Illinois appeals court on Friday upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed a lawsuit by the Daley administration seeking damages from former manufacturers of lead-based paints.

Children across the city have suffered from lead based paint and water pipes.  The city contended that the companies should help pay for treating the children.

But the court ruled the companies could not be held liable for lawfully producing paint "decades ago."  Further, the opinion states the paint was lawfully used by others at the time.  The paint, the Court continues, remains a hazard "only because Chicago landlords continue to violate laws that require them to remove deteriorated paint."

Lead-based paint was prohibited for sale in the United States in 1978.

"We are disappointed with the decision," said Jennifer Hoyle, a spokeswoman for the city's Law Department. "We are in the process of reviewing the opinion in detail to determine what options are available, including attempting an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court."

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