It’s been a year since Rhode Island won a precedent-setting court victory against three former lead paint manufacturers, but the case has been in legal limbo since then as the companies have challenged the verdict and demanded a new trial.

Both sides are awaiting a judge’s order, expected soon, that could specify what the defendants need to do to deal with lead paint contamination. The decision will be significant since lawyers and financial analysts estimate that it could cost billions to clean up the toxic problem.