The head of the New York City Housing Authority (The Projects) who is currently tackling its lead paint crisis had failed to protect the city’s private buildings from lead contamination in his previous position, according to an investigation by the New York Post. Vito Mustaciuolo had earlier overseen the enforcement division of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), which the Post states, bungled nearly 6,500 lead cases in less than two years. Lead paint is known to cause lead poisoning, which can be particularly harmful to children 6 years old and younger.
Delays in Lead Removal
We cannot say if the Post is correct or not. Residents of a Harlem apartment interviewed by the Post call it a “complete and utter nightmare.” The family of three was uprooted for months while the department dithered over lead remediation in their apartment, they said, adding that this wasn’t a problem such as an overflowing toilet, but a toxic environment that could prove harmful for people, especially young children. The city’s lead-regulation code, Local Law 1, lays out a strict timetable for the department and requires landlords to repair or remove lead from dwellings within 123 days of its detection.
However, Mustaciuolo’s enforcement division didn’t meet that deadline in 29 percent of the 22,472 lead violations it detected across 8,194 apartments, the Post’s analysis of more than two years of HPD records found. That amounted to 6,481 lead violations in 2,503 homes left untreated past the 123-day deadline.
These lapses were recorded between the launch of HPD’s online database in April 2016 and Mustaciulo’s departure for NYCHA in January 2018. He arrived after revelations that the public housing authority had covered up years of failure to comply with lead checks required under federal law. Advocates are now questioning why the de Blasio administration trusts Mustaciuolo to mend NYCHA given his track record. NYCHA is currently in the process of inspecting thousands of public housing units in the projects for toxic lead paint.
Lead Poisoning Issues
High levels of lead in the body can cause problems with the brain, kidneys and bone marrow, which is the soft tissue inside the bones. Some of the common symptoms of high lead levels include belly pain, headaches, vomiting, confusion, muscle weakness, seizures or low blood cell count. In children, even lower levels of lead in the body can cause problems such as behavioral and memory issues, learning difficulties and decreased IQ.
It is estimated that 4 percent of children in the United States have lead poisoning. These rates are even higher in large cities such as New York and in low-income areas such as The Projects. The most common cause of lead poisoning is old lead-based paint, which hasn’t been used in home construction since 1978. But, older homes and apartment buildings, particularly those constructed before 1960, have lead-based paint.
Understanding Your Rights
If 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 NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords for damages. It is important that you get your children’s blood lead levels tested if you live in a housing development that is known to have lead paint.
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. A knowledgeable New York City lead poisoning lawyer will be able to help you file the lawsuit and compile the evidence that is required to hold the agency or private building owner accountable for its negligence (carelessness).
NYC Lead Poisoning Lawyer
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 and medical malpractice 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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