Did the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) (The Projects) Cover Up Lead Hazards?

Lead PaintThe city’s Health Department allowed the New York City Housing Authority to cover up test results showing dangerous levels of lead paint in a residential unit and avoid responsibility to fix the conditions — even after a child was hospitalized with severe lead poisoning — a complaint filed by the child’s mother states.

According to a report from AMNY, Ikasha Whitaker, a resident of NYCHA’s East River Houses in East Harlem, said in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court that the Health Department allows NYCHA undue deference in challenging lead test results than it does to private landlords (building owners) in spite of the public housing agency’s history of covering up lead violation and its use of ineffective technology to test for lead hazards.

Alarming Blood Lead Levels

Whitaker said she experienced the repercussions of this in April when her 3-year-old child was hospitalized with blood lead levels of 44 micrograms per deciliter, which constitutes severe lead poisoning and required chelation therapy, a treatment that binds toxins in the bloodstream by circulating a chelation solution.

The complaint states that after the child’s hospitalization the Health Department conducted X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) testing for lead hazards in Whitaker’s apartment, finding chipping and peeling paint in 22 surfaces including on windowsills that were easily accessible to the toddler. On April 19, the Health Department issued a “Commissioner’s Order to Abate Nuisance” to NYCHA (The Projects) and ordered the authority to correct the lead paint hazards within five days.

On the same day, NYCHA informed the health department that it intended to contest the results even though it had not conducted the lead tests. That was done only on April 24, but using paint chip analysis — a less reliable test — instead of XRF, Whitaker said. On April 26, the health department rescinded 16 of the 22 initial violations allowing NYCHA (The Projects) to leave most of the apartment’s dangerous lead paint in place in spite of the child’s serious condition. The family has been temporarily relocated until the lead hazards can be abated AMNY reported. Our law firm cannot support or deny all of the above as we have no direct knowledge regarding the above.

According to a 2018 New York Times article, over an eight-year period, NYCHA challenged 95% of lead abatement orders from the Health Department, which backed down in 75% of the cases that were challenged. Private landlords (building owners) contested only 4% of similar orders in the same timeframe.

Effects of Lead Poisoning on Children

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that lead poisoning occurs when small amounts of lead enter the bloodstream and starts to build up in the body, causing serious health problems. Children under the age of 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. It may even cause irreversible brain damage or death. The most common cause of lead poisoning among children is eating chipping or peeling lead paint or lead paint chips or inhaling lead dust. Some of the symptoms of lead poisoning among children include developmental delays, learning difficulties, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue or sluggishness, abdominal pain, constipation, hearing loss and seizures, etc.

New York Lead Poisoning Lawyer

Whether you have been living as a tenant at a private apartment complex or in a public housing unit (the Projects), please remember that you have legal rights. If your child has been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, regardless of whether you live in public or private housing, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) (the Projects) or private building owners and building managers for damages. Those who have been affected can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, cost of diagnostic tests, permanent injuries, lost income and benefits, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.

If your child has been affected by lead poisoning, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.

Our firm recovered $1,162,500 for a child who suffered lead poisoning from paint in her apartment. The child’s injuries were subtle and difficult to recognize. We recovered $162,500 above the $1 million dollar total insurance policy in this case. Despite the judge’s efforts to settle the case for $950,000, we fought hard and recovered $162,500 more than the insurance policy of one million dollars. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury, lead poisoning and medical malpractice cases including, brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) and cerebral palsy cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

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Source: https://www.amny.com/housing/health-dept-nycha-cover-up-lead-paint-child-hospitalized-lawsuit/