WASHINGTON - In a decision favorable to the National Paint & Coatings Association and the coatings industry, a Maryland judge granted a defendants' motion to dismiss a Maryland lead property class-action suit filed on behalf of "one million Maryland homeowners" seeking billions of dollars in damages and abatement relief. The NPCA and several paint manufacturers are named as defendants in the suit.

In seeking dismissal of the class action, the NPCA said the association and the industry have demonstrated "extraordinary responsibility and leadership in progressive programs and candor regarding lead-based paint," thus negating any allegation that the industry was privy to any conspiracy to withhold lead-hazard information from the public.

The judge in the case agreed, rejecting conspiracy and fraud claims as insufficient, stating in his decision that the "Plaintiffs do not allege that this information was hidden from the general public, but to the contrary, cite numerous public documents and forums in which the hazards of lead based paint were openly disclosed to the public."

More information on the Maryland case is available from the NPCA website at www.paint.org.