Injuries: Lead Poisoning
Facts and Claim of Liability:
First infant plaintiff was born on October 19, 1995 at defendant hospital Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn. From birth, infant plaintiff received all primary pediatric care at defendant hospital.
Infant plaintiff’s family moved into the first subject premises in Brooklyn in July of 1996.
Second infant plaintiff was born on February 23, 1998 at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn. From birth, infant plaintiff received all primary pediatric care at defendant hospital.
Infant plaintiff’s family moved into the second subject premises in August of 2000. Plaintiff mother recalls that her husband made a number of complaints to one of the defendant owners about the peeling paint within the apartment. Plaintiff mother also recalls that the defendant owner “refused” to make the necessary repairs, and told them that they were free to move out if they wanted. Plaintiff mother’s husband wound up making many of the repairs himself.
Plaintiff mother also recalls that on a number of occasions, she caught second infant plaintiff “playing with paint chips” that had chipped off of the walls. She also caught first infant plaintiff peeling some of the already-peeling paint off of the walls.
While residing at the first and second subject premises, infant plaintiffs were diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels. On April 22, 1998, first infant plaintiff was diagnosed with an elevated blood lead level (“PbB”) of 7 ug/dL. On October 13, 1998, second infant plaintiff was diagnosed with an elevated blood lead level of 22 ug/dL.
On January 18, 2001, the New York Department of Health visited the second subject premises. X-ray fluorescence sampling revealed 45 lead-positive surfaces from 85 samples taken from the subject premises.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Kings County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant owners of the first subject premises and defendant owners of the second subject premises 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 also argued that defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiffs in failing to properly diagnose and treat infant plaintiffs for their elevated blood lead levels, resulting in permanent disabilities to infant plaintiffs. Ultimately, the cause of action against defendant hospital was discontinued. The jury returned a verdict in favor of infant plaintiffs in the total amount of $1,060,000.00, some of which to be paid by defendant owners of the first subject premises and the other part to be paid by defendant owners of the second subject premises. Compensatory damages in the amount of $708,241.09 were paid to infant plaintiffs.