Injuries: Lead Poisoning
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff’s family moved into the subject premises in February of 1997. Eight days later, on February 9, infant plaintiff was born at Lincoln Hospital. Shortly thereafter, infant plaintiff began receiving pediatric primary care from defendant doctor. Plaintiff mother also began to take infant plaintiff to the second subject premises, where his grandmother lived, so that someone could watch infant plaintiff while plaintiff mother was at work.
Over the course of the next twenty months, plaintiff mother took infant plaintiff to defendant doctor for a number of routine checkups. On October 13, 1998, infant plaintiff’s blood lead level measured 4 ug/dL. After this date, plaintiff mother and infant plaintiff made nine more visits to defendant doctor. However, at none of these visits was infant plaintiff’s blood lead level tested again, despite infant plaintiff’s previous blood lead level result. At no point did defendant doctor perform a lead-hazard risk assessment with plaintiff mother and infant plaintiff; nor did he ask plaintiff mother about the conditions in her home or in her mother’s home.
On March 7, 2000, infant plaintiff was diagnosed by a different doctor with a blood lead level of 32 ug/dL. Subsequent blood lead levels (PbBs) were recorded as 30 ug/dL on March 23; 14 ug/dL on July 24; 18 ug/dL on March 20, 2001; 20 ug/dL on April 9, 2001; 21 ug/dL on April 17, 2001; 22 ug/dL on May 17, 2001; and 15 ug/dL on August 8, 2001.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in New York County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant owners and defendant managing agent of each of the subject premises were careless, negligent, and reckless in the ownership, operation, management, maintenance, repair, care, and control of subject premises in allowing and permitting a dangerous and hazardous condition to be, remain, and exist; in allowing lead paint to become exposed and to flake; in failing to timely make the necessary and proper repairs to the dangerous condition; and in failing to give any adequate warning or other notice of the dangerous condition. Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald also argued that defendant doctor failed to do a Lead Risk Assessment and educate plaintiff mother regarding pre-1960s buildings, cracking and peeling paint, and lead-based paint hazards, as well as timely test infant plaintiff for elevated blood-lead levels. Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald ultimately settled with defendants for a total of $435,000.00.