Baltimore City Lead Paint Lawsuit Jury Verdict Overturned on Appeal

A Maryland appeals court has overturned a $590,000 verdict in a lead paint poisoning lawsuit filed against a Baltimore City landlord. 

The Court of Special Appeals has called for a new trial in the case, which alleges that Stanley Rochkind failed to eliminate lead paint hazards in about 700 rental homes. The lawsuit was brought by Danielle Finch, who claims that her daughter, Tyaih Dodd, suffered lead paint poisoning and permanent injuries as a 6-year-old child while residing in a home owned by Rochkind.

Rochkind entered into a consent order with the Maryland Department of the Environment to address lead paint problems in his rental properties in 2001. During trial in the case filed on behalf of Dodd, the jury was allowed to see that order. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that allowing the jury to see the consent order prejudiced them against Rochkind.

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Lead Poisoning Lawsuits

Children diagnosed with lead poisoning after exposure to peeling or chipping lead paint in a rental home may be entitled to financial compensation and benefits.

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Finch’s attorney said that the consent order was used to prove that Rochkind was the owner of a number of companies that at one time owned 1,000 properties in Baltimore. The jury originally awarded $1.7 million in damages for the minor child, but the amount was reduced under a Maryland cap on non-economic damages.

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


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