Injuries: Lead Poisoning
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff’s family moved into the subject premises in the Bronx in July of 2002. Plaintiff mother and plaintiff father recall that when they first moved in, the apartment appeared to be in “good” condition; however, soon after, the paint on the window sills, radiators, and walls began peeling and chipping. Plaintiff father complained about the problem to the landlord.
Infant plaintiff was born on November 4, 2003 at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital. From birth, infant plaintiff received all primary pediatric care at Obilo Pediatric Associates in the Bronx.
On September 30, 2006, when infant plaintiff was about three years old, plaintiff mother took him to a physical, as infant plaintiff needed to complete one in order to be admitted to a program that plaintiff mother was trying to get him into. A doctor tested him for lead poisoning. Infant plaintiff was diagnosed with an elevated blood-lead level of 56 ug/dL. Infant plaintiff was rushed to an emergency room and given oral chelation.
In November of 2006, infant plaintiff’s family moved into the second subject premises in the Bronx. Plaintiff mother recalls that when they first moved in to this apartment, there was peeling paint “throughout” the apartment – in the kitchen, living room, foyer, bathroom, and bedrooms. Plaintiff mother immediately complained to the management company; however, although the management company promised to do so, they did nothing to repair the problem. Eventually, the New York State Department of Health came to the apartment and found a number of lead hazard violations.
While living at the second subject premises, infant plaintiff’s blood lead level (which had dropped after his initial diagnosis of 56 ug/dL in September), spiked back up to 31 ug/dL. Infant plaintiff and his family moved out of the second subject premises the following year, in March of 2007.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant owner of the first subject premises and defendant owner of second 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; and in failing to make a timely repair and abatement of the lead-based paint hazard in the subject premises upon learning that a child under the age of six was living in the subject premises, both of which resulted in serious and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant owner of the second subject premises for a total of $475,000.00.