New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing a Syracuse landlord (property owner) over lead paint violations that she said have resulted in at least 18 children living at his properties suffering from lead poisoning. According to a report on Syracuse.com, the children were poisoned over six years while living in properties owned by the landlord (property owner). The allegations against the building owner have been made by James in a lawsuit filed in the state Supreme Court in Onondaga County.
Alleged Violations of Lead Laws
The lawsuit alleges that from Jan. 1, 2015 to July 31, 2021, at least 32 properties owned by the landlord (property owner) were cited by county health officials and city code enforcement officials for chipping, peeling, deteriorating paint, and other conditions that cause lead poisoning and are prohibited both under county and city laws. Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse have joined as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
James said an investigation her office initiated in late 2020 found that during the six years at least 18 children suffered lead poisoning. All of them were children of color, the attorney general said, adding that lead paint exposure is a problem that without a doubt disproportionately affects children of color. The property owner essentially took advantage of low-income families, failed to provide them the protections required under the law and knowingly put children in harm’s way, James said.
The lawsuit further alleged that the property owner failed to follow laws that require his company to maintain its properties in a lead-safe condition, and instead, allowed paint on properties to deteriorate to the point that it became a hazard. The property owner not only failed to provide federally required lead disclosures, but in some cases, provided “materially false and deceptive lead disclosures to tenants and purchasers” of his properties, the lawsuit stated.
How Lead Affects Children
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead may cause significant harm to human health, and it has the potential to seriously harm young children. Exposure to lead can cause impaired brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient or IQ, behavioral changes such as decreased attention span and increased anti-social behavior, and reduced academic achievement.
Exposure to lead may also cause anemia, hypertension, kidney problems and toxicity to the immune system and reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead poisoning are believed to be irreversible. There is no known blood lead concentration that can be considered “safe.” We know now that even blood lead concentrations that are termed low may be associated with decreased intelligence in children, behavioral issues and learning difficulties. As lead exposure increases, the range and severity of symptoms also increases.
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.
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