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Landlord to Pay $1.6M to Lead Victim

Thursday, October 16, 2014

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A Baltimore landlord has been ordered to pay $1.6 million to a 21-year-old who suffered permanent health problems from lead-paint exposure as a young child.

The judgment by a Baltimore city jury marks the second major legal victory in less than a month for a plaintiff in a lead-paint case.

The new judgment involves a suit by Montrell Washington against Steven L. Berman, the landlord of a home where Washington lived during the early 1990s, The Baltimore Sun reported Friday (Oct. 10).

lead paint
©iStock / XiFotos

Evidence presented during the case showed that the Baltimore house (not pictured) had chipped lead paint in the early 1990s and that lead paint was still present, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Washington contended that Berman had failed to follow lead-safety provisions of Baltimore’s housing code.

Evidence presented during the case showed that the house had chipped lead paint in the early 1990s and that lead paint was still present, according to the report.

The plaintiff struggled with reading and had a low IQ, his attorney, Nicholas Szokoly, of EKT Law, told the news bureau.

Additional information about the case was not immediately available.

Similar Case

Lead paint in older housing has become a flashpoint in Baltimore and the state of Maryland. Maryland law allows child victims of lead-paint poisoning to file lawsuits until age 21.

Last month, a Baltimore city jury returned a $2.1 million verdict to the family of a 17-year-old who was allegedly poisoned by flaking lead paint while living at a residence from 1997 to 2001.

That case was brought by Tiesha Robinson on behalf of her son against Elliot Dackman, the owner of the Dackman Co.

child on window
County of Marin, CA

Although lead paint was banned in 1978 in the United States, at least four million households still have children who are exposed to high levels of lead, CDC says.

According to Robinson's attorney, testing showed that nine surfaces in the house had been painted with lead-based paint. A family member testified that the landlord had ignored her repeated complaints about the paint, according to an Associated Press report that cited The Daily Record of Baltimore.

Lead Paint Dangers

Although lead paint was banned in 1978 in the United States, at least four million households still have children who are exposed to high levels of lead, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About a half-million U.S. children ages 1-5 have blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions. No amount of lead in the blood is considered safe, the CDC says.

To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the CDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will host National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 19-25.

Free screenings, lead-awareness community events, educational campaigns and other activities are planned nationwide.


Tagged categories: Health and safety; Laws and litigation; Lawsuits; Lead; Lead paint abatement

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (10/16/2014, 8:47 AM)

Really good, compelling photos.

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