Six weeks after the Rhode Island Supreme Court freed four paint companies of billions of dollars in liability for lead paint cleanup, lawyers for the companies argued Friday that due to the July 1 decision, the state and plaintiffs counsel must cover court fees.

Last month the Supreme Court reversed a February 2006 jury verdict finding the companies’ use of lead in paints was a public nuisance that required $2.4 billion in cleanup. In an oral hearing Friday, Laura Ellsworth of Jones Day, arguing for lawyers for The Sherwin-Williams Co., said that the state must pay court fees incurred in the nine-year legal battle. Lawyers from ConAgra Grocery Products Co., Millennium Holdings and NL Industries agreed.

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