$1,020,000-Lead Poisoning: Jury Verdict Tenant claimed landlord failed to properly abate lead hazard

F&F #A00146


Jury Verdict:


Plaintiff claimed that her son suffers from learning disabilities as a result of his lead poisoning. Joshua, 14 at the time of trial, was a seventh-grade special-education student. He scored below grade level in all subject areas.

Facts & Allegations: The Fitzgerald Law Firm represented the plaintiffs in this case.  In February 1992, plaintiff Joshua B., 2, and his mother, plaintiff Lizzy B., moved to an apartment on Stanhope Street in Brooklyn. On Feb.1, 1994, Joshua was found to have a blood lead concentration of 24 micrograms per deciliter–which was more than twice the toxicity threshold of 10 micrograms per deciliter. His blood lead concentration had dropped to 12 micrograms per deciliter by April 21, 1994, and it ranged from 9 to 12 micrograms per deciliter during six tests performed over the ensuing 4.5 years. During that time, the New York City Department of Health identified lead-paint hazards and violations in the plaintiffs’ apartment building.

Lizzy B. Acting on her son’s behalf, sued the owner and manager of her apartment building, R.A.J. Management Corp. She claimed that she noticed paint-surface defects in the apartment in 1992, and that she reported them to R.A.J. at that time. She contended that R.A.J. was negligent in its abatement of the hazard because it did so without following the department of health’s specified safety procedures.

Result: The jury awarded Joshua $1,020,000. After application of CPLR article 50-B and the plaintiffs’ proposed 4.5% discount rate, the award’s present-day value was set at $961,287.