Lead Poisoning, Medical Malpractice, Cognitive Impairments, Deficits in Fine Motor Function, Verbal Memory, Visuospatial Ability and Memory, and Cognitive Flexibility
Injuries: Lead Poisoning, Cognitive Impairments, Deficits in Fine Motor Function, Verbal Memory, Visuospatial Ability and Memory, and Cognitive Flexibility
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on May 20, 1999. Over the course of the next two years, plaintiff mother took infant plaintiff to see defendant doctor on a number of occasions. Although defendant doctor discussed lead-based paint hazards with plaintiff mother, no lead test was ever ordered. In March of 2001, plaintiff mother moved infant plaintiff and the rest of the family into the subject premises in Orangeburg, NY. Plaintiff mother and plaintiff father immediately noticed that some of the paint on the walls was peeling.
A couple of months after the family moved into the subject premises, on June 11, 2001, plaintiff mother took infant plaintiff to defendant doctor for another routine check-up. Anticipatory guidance [to prevent lead poisoning] was given; however, at no time was plaintiff mother asked about the conditions of the home in which she, infant plaintiff, and the rest of the family lived. A lead test was, however, ordered, and eventually revealed that infant plaintiff’s blood lead level was 16 mcg / dL.
Weeks later, another lead test was ordered; this time, on July 23, 2001, infant plaintiff’s blood lead level was 19 mcg / dL. The doctor’s office informed plaintiff mother that they would be contacting the New York State Department of Health in regard to the subject premises. Ultimately, the DOH found that there was lead-based paint on the walls in the subject premises, and that there were high lead levels throughout the subject premises.
At seven years of age, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with cognitive impairments; specifically, impairments in the ability to name objects, impairments in fine motor function, impairments in verbal memory, impairments in visuospatial ability and memory, and impairments in cognitive flexibility. Although she had begun to attend normal school, she experienced a number of behavioral problems, including inciting violence among her classmates.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Rockland County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant landlords were negligent in the ownership, operation, management, maintenance, and repair of the subject premises, and that defendant doctor departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to properly diagnose and treat infant plaintiff, who had an elevated blood level, which resulted in serious and permanent injury to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $151,000.00.