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Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg..photo by Jason Doiy.4-19-2011.055-2011Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg..photo by Jason Doiy.4-19-2011.055-2011 (Jason Doiy)

SAN FRANCISCO — Three companies must pay $1.1 billion to clean up lead paint on older homes around the state, a Santa Clara County judge ruled Monday.

After a 13-year legal battle, Judge James Kleinberg sided with a group of municipalities and ordered that defendants ConAgra Grocery Products, NL Industries Inc. and the Sherwin-Williams Company fund a plan to remove remnants of the toxin applied before lead was banned in 1978. The judge found the firms’ decades-long manufacture or promotion of white lead paint for interior use had created a public nuisance.

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