A Rhode Island superior court judge ruled on Monday that the state can proceed with its lawsuit against manufacturers that marketed lead-based paints. Rhode Island is the first state to sue the paint industry over lead poisoning; taking a hint from the successful legal tactics used against tobacco companies, the state is accusing the industry of knowing that lead paint was dangerous before it was banned in the U.S in 1978 and covering up the risk. State Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse (D), who is pressing the case, cheered Monday’s decision, and advocates for lead-poisoned children said in a statement that the ruling “feels like a home run for the families devastated by lead poisoning.” But former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, representing the manufacturers, claimed that the judge actually dismissed the state’s most damaging claims against the industry, and that the ruling was a “significant victory for the defendants.” Similar suits initiated by individuals and communities across the U.S. have failed.