New York’s Attorney General has found a property management firm, which manages more than 6,000 apartments in about 134 buildings in New York City, in violation of lead poisoning prevention laws. According to a report in The Bronx Times, Attorney General Letitia James filed a complaint in February 2020 against the company alleging that it failed to meet the city’s lead poisoning prevention laws thereby endangering the lives of their tenants, particularly young children who are vulnerable to serious health effects as a result of lead exposure.
Investigations into the Firm’s Violations
The city’s lead poisoning prevention laws require landlords (building owners) to take measures that prevent children 6 years old or under from being exposed to lead-based paint. An agreement between the Attorney General’s office and the property management company reached in late September instructs that all its apartments be brought to compliance and that the company pay $300,000 for lead poisoning prevention programs.
The agreement was filed jointly by James and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development in the Bronx County Supreme Court. Going forward, if the property management company is found in violation of the agreement, they could face possible legal action, according to the agreement.
James’s investigation into the company began in 2018 and determined that they engaged in repeated violations of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act including failing to inspect apartments to determine if a child the age of 6 or under lives there; failing to conduct complete annual investigations of apartments for hazards that are conducive to lead poisoning; and failing to take necessary steps when an apartment turns over.
This agreement is the result of the Attorney General’s second investigation into landlord (property owner) violations of the city’s lead poisoning prevention laws. On Sept. 18, James’s office announced their investigation into another New York City-based property owner who was not in compliance with the city’s lead poisoning prevention laws.
Lead Violations Affect Communities of Color
Lead poisoning in New York City is highest among children of color and children living in low-income neighborhoods. The Attorney General’s office says low-income children in the city represent 66% of children 6 years old or under with elevated lead levels while Asian, Black and Latino children together represent 84% of those with elevated lead levels. In 2019, the city’s Department of Health reported that 564 children in Bronx public and private housing 18 years old or under had dangerously high blood lead levels. Despite the laws that exist to safeguard children, child lead poisoning continues to be a widespread problem in the city with 11.2 per 1,000 children living in private housing having elevated blood lead levels.
In 2020, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) (The Projects) reported that 1,160 children living in public housing (the Projects) have tested positive for lead poisoning since 2012. Lead paint has been found in approximately 43% of all New York dwellings, according to the Attorney General’s office. The city banned the sale of lead-based paint in 1960, which was followed by a statewide ban in 1970. Lead paint was banned by the federal government in 1978. But, a large number of older buildings still contain lead-based paint.
NYC 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 NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords (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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