LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire –
The massive amount of attention being paid to the lead content in some of the nation’s most ubiquitous toys is long overdue, says Houston attorney Richard O. Faulk, Chair of the Litigation Department at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP.
“While the lead paint trials were in progress in Rhode Island, and while the proceedings in New Jersey, Missouri, Ohio and California have been pending, American children were at risk from an incredible array of alternative sources of lead poisoning, including sidewalk chalk, candy wrappers, lunch boxes, baby cribs, rings and other ‘prizes’ from vending machines, with no warnings or notice, and inadequate pre-marketing inspections by federal and state authorities,” he says.
“Where were public authorities and their contingent fee counsel then? Indeed, where are they now?” questions Mr. Faulk. “Where is their altruism and sense of ‘public service’ when our children are endangered by products that are still being marketed, as opposed to those which were discontinued decades ago? They surely knew about these issues long ago – they are, after all, matters of public record and have been reported in the press. Nevertheless, they’ve consistently objected to the admission of evidence of alternative sources of lead exposure. Why do they not want juries to know about these present dangers? Can it be that authorities and their counsel have turned a blind eye – and a deaf ear – to obvious dangers in their headlong rush to secure massive revenue infusions?
“The public deserves answers to these important questions, and they deserve more than the tired platitudes they’ve heard to date. Most importantly, the public, and particularly our children, deserve to be safe – not ignored for years while authorities seem preoccupied by dreams of litigation windfalls. Citizens are rightfully concerned about the recent revelations about lead in toys, but they should be outraged that the situation arose unnecessarily while their elected officials chose to chase speculative lawsuits instead of protecting them against present dangers.
“The alchemists who are trying to transmute lead paint litigation into gold are ‘looking for lead in all the wrong places’ – and the danger to America’s children will increase as long as these faulty experiments continue to distract the attention of public officials.”
Richard O. Faulk is the co-author of “Looking For Lead In All The Wrong Places: Alternative Sources Of Exposure In Lead Paint Litigation.” That paper is posted on the law firm’s website (www.gardere.com) under Mr. Faulk’s biography.
Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, an AmLaw 200 firm, was founded in 1909 and is one of the Southwest’s largest full-service law firms. With offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston and Mexico City, Gardere provides legal services to private and public companies and individuals in areas of energy, litigation, corporate, tax, environmental, labor and employment, intellectual property and financial services.