Baltimore City Lead Poisoning Lawsuit Judgments Must Be Paid, Officials Say

Baltimore City Council members have called for a hearing in response to a fallout from announcements that the Baltimore Housing Authority was planning to ignore court orders to pay millions of dollars in compensation to victims of lead paint poisoning

Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano has publicly stated that the authority has no intention of heeding court judgments that ordered the city to pay $12 million to residents of public housing who suffered injuries from lead paint exposure.

Graziano says the city just cannot afford to pay the $12 million, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlins-Blake has backed up Graziano’s remarks, agreeing that the payments are beyond the city’s ability to pay.

City council members took umbrage at Graziano’s remarks, calling on him to clarify at a hearing on April 26. Some council members have said that his position is unacceptable and damaging to the city’s image.

The city council hearing was announced just days after the Maryland Senate ordered the city to come up with a plan to honor the court orders. State senators pointed out that the city has spent nearly $4 million fighting Baltimore City lead poisoning lawsuits.

The meeting was called for by Councilwoman Belinda Conaway, who said that Graziano’s belief that the city can just choose not to pay is a non-starter.

One of the more common causes of lead exposure in the United States is lead-based paint, which was banned in 1978 due to the risk of severe and permanent brain damage and developmental problems, particularly in children. However, a number of older homes still contain the toxic paint on the walls, and if it flakes or peals off, young children residing in the home may ingest the paint chips or breathe dust that comes from the paint, resulting in lead poisoning.

Lead poisoning can result in nervous system injury, brain damage, seizures or convulsions, growth or mental retardation, coma and even death for young children.

Lawsuits over lead paint poisoning have been filed against landlords and property owners who failed to correctly clean up remnants of lead paint or properly minimize lead exposure to children living in their properties. The Housing Authority of Baltimore City has been held responsible for providing dangerous living conditions for children who suffered brain damage while living in public housing.

Lead paint poisoning in Baltimore City are particularly common in Maryland, with roughly 70% of all elevated lead level blood tests for the entire state found in the City.

The city still faces about 175 lead poisoning lawsuits, which could cost it as much as $800 million.

1 Comments

  • DalerekaOctober 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    We did not ask for lead paint poison my name is dalereka and I need my money now

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