Maryland Lead Paint Lawsuit Results in $2 Million Verdict

A jury has awarded $2 million to an 18-year old girl who was the victim of lead poisoning in Maryland, finding that the landlord of the home where she lived during the first six years of her life did not properly maintain the property, failing to remove peeling lead paint from the walls.

The lead paint poisoning lawsuit was filed on behalf of Lakia Roberts and her mother, Learland D. Clark in Baltimore City Circuit Court, alleging that Roberts suffers from severe cognitive deficits and a 10 to 12 point I.Q. loss from lead poisoning caused by ingesting paint chips and flakes in their Baltimore rental home.

The jury found that Attsgood Realty was negligent in failing to take steps to reduce the risk of lead poisoning by removing the toxic paint, and the plaintiffs were awarded $500,000 in economic damages and $1.5 million in non-economic damages.

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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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As a result of a Maryland cap on damages, the Plaintiffs will not receive the full amount that the jury awarded. The non-economic damages will be reduced from $1.5 million to $350,000, which was the maximum amount recoverable under the law at the time the cause of action arose in the early 1990s. As a result, the total judgment is expected to be $850,000.

The Maryland damages cap is currently set at $710,000 for causes of action that arise this year, increasing by $15,000 anually on October 1st. However, there is no limit on compensation for economic damages, such as medical bills and earnings loss.

Although a ban on lead paint was enacted more than 30 years ago, it still remains on the walls of thousands of homes throughout the country. Lead poisoning is a particular risk for children living in older rental properties in large cities, like Baltimore, where the homes may be poorly maintained, allowing lead paint to flake off the wall.

Young child are very susceptible to chemical damage during development from lead levels in the paint if they suck on paint chips or inhales dust from the paint. Symptoms of lead poisoning can include:

  • Brain injuries
  • Coma or death
  • Growth or mental retardation
  • Nervous system injuries
  • Seizures or convulsions

While most lead paint lawsuits typically result in verdicts against the landlords for failing to properly maintain the property, the companies that previously manufactured the toxic paint may also face potential liability.

This year, a bill was introduced in the Maryland State Legislature designed to make it easier for victims of lead poisoning and their families to pursue compensation against lead paint manufacturers, but the bill died in committee.

The Baltimore City Lead Poisoning Recovery Act of 2009, HB 1156, would have allowed plaintiffs to file lawsuits even when it is not possible to identify the specific manufacturer of the paint. A representative of the office of Delegate Sandy Rosenberg, who introduced the legislation, says it is unclear whether the delegate will re-introduce the bill next session.

Lead poisoning in Baltimore City is a particular problem, as more than 50% of the housing units in the city were constructed before 1950, and are considered to have serious lead hazard potential, according to the United States Census Bureau’s 2005 American Community Survey. In 2007, 624 of the 892 cases of Maryland children diagnosed with high blood lead levels resided in Baltimore City.

3 Comments

  • sherylOctober 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    someone still owns that property. Would it be beneficial to you to place a civil claim on the property itself. If nothing else it will tie up the deed and title work so that if it is sold your claim must be settled. I am not sure, but I hope you find someone to help you.

  • JanOctober 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I have a grand daughter that is suffering all kinds of emotional and behavior problems,learning problems and attention deficit disorder from lead paint poisoning. When she was, I believe, three years old she was tested for lead. The doctor told her mother that her lead level should not be over 9 at that age. Her lead level came back at 36. We have no one to sue. The landlord has been long go[Show More]I have a grand daughter that is suffering all kinds of emotional and behavior problems,learning problems and attention deficit disorder from lead paint poisoning. When she was, I believe, three years old she was tested for lead. The doctor told her mother that her lead level should not be over 9 at that age. Her lead level came back at 36. We have no one to sue. The landlord has been long gone, because local police and FBI were looking for him for many of his shady business practices. I am in Baltimore, Md. Why is there not a fund for victims who don't have anyway to sue the landlord. This child was damaged, and her mother has her hands full. And she should have some way to be compensated for the harm she has suffered and will very likely suffer for the rest of her life.? Maybe the state should have a fund like the one thats in place for victimis of violent crime. The state takes on the responsibility of compensating these people. Lead is such a lethal and desructive thing. You can hardly believe the damage it has done to so many poor black families in this city. The landlord that I am speaking of is James M. Stein, a true slum lord. Somebody needs to make a whole lot of noise about this. How do you seek compensation if there is no one to sue?

  • TroyMay 19, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    This verdict is good news! It is nice to see a victory for the victims of greedy, heartless,lead paint poisoners in Baltimore. Sandy Rosenberg has been a major obstacle to justice for these victims with his legislation that favors the culprits rather than the victims. His bill to hold paint companies liable is nothing but one of his many evil scams, sponsoring the bill in order to appear to be a v[Show More]This verdict is good news! It is nice to see a victory for the victims of greedy, heartless,lead paint poisoners in Baltimore. Sandy Rosenberg has been a major obstacle to justice for these victims with his legislation that favors the culprits rather than the victims. His bill to hold paint companies liable is nothing but one of his many evil scams, sponsoring the bill in order to appear to be a victim's advocate, but then quietly lobbying against its passage.

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