Injuries: Lead Poisoning
Facts and Claim of Liability:
In May of 1998, infant plaintiff’s family moved into the first subject premises in Manhattan. Plaintiff mother recalls that when she first moved in, the apartment had been freshly painted. However, within a matter of months, the paint began to peel. Also, there was a serious leak in the ceiling in the bathroom that the building superintendent ultimately had to cover with sheet rock. There were also holes in the ceiling in one of the bedrooms.
Plaintiff mother recalls telling the building superintendent in early 2002 that the apartment needed to be painted, and the holes in the ceiling in one of the bedrooms needed to be fixed, because she was about to have a baby and wanted to bring her home to a “nice apartment.”
Infant plaintiff was born on May 29, 2002 at New York Presbyterian / The Allen Hospital. From birth, she received all primary pediatric care at 129 W. 180th Street in Manhattan. From the time infant plaintiff was about five months old, she spent five days a week, approximately six or seven hours a day, at the second subject premises in Washington Heights, because plaintiff mother had to go to work and could not watch her.
When infant plaintiff was about three years old, part of the ceiling in one of the bedrooms in the first subject premises collapsed. Fortunately, no one was injured. Plaintiff mother recalls that the landlord sent some people to fix the ceiling.
On November 30, 2005, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with an elevated blood-lead level (“PbB”) of 18 ug/dL. Subsequent PbBs were recorded as 17 ug/dL on December 20, 2005; 13 ug/dL on January 10, 2006; 13 ug/dL on March 3, 2006 and 7 ug/dL on May 15, 2006.
On December 14, 2005, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) visited the first subject premises. X-ray fluorescence sampling ultimately revealed 10 lead-positive surfaces out of 46 samples.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in New York County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant owners and defendant managing agents of the first and second subject premises, respectively, were careless, negligent, and reckless in the ownership, operation, management, maintenance, repair, care, and control of the 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. Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald ultimately settled with defendants for a total of $510,000.00.