San Diego Deputy City Attorney Paul Prather, who along with attorneys from nine California cities successfully fought for lead paint cleanup, was named one of Public Justice’s 2014 Trial Lawyers of the Year.
The 27-attorney team won a $1.15 billion judgment against paint manufacturers earlier this year, successfully arguing that lead paint in homes is a public nuisance that creates a risk of harm to children who reside in or visit those homes.
If the case is upheld on appeal, the city of San Diego stands to gain $80.5 million to be used exclusively for the abatement of lead paint in private homes in San Diego.
“Lead paint is the primary source of lead poisoning for children," Prather said. "Studies have shown that even low levels of exposure to dust from lead paint can cause irreversible brain damage. We had a great team of attorneys working on this case and are very pleased with the current outcome.”
A California judge in March 2014 ordered Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries Inc. and ConAgra Grocery Products LLC to pay $1.15 billion to fund a government-run program to pay for inspections and lead removal in tens of thousands of California homes.
The Public Justice award was presented at the group's annual awards dinner July 27 in Baltimore.