NYCHA’s (the Projects) COVID-19 Response Prompts Lawsuit

Residents of New York City Housing Authority units or “the Projects” say they plan to sue the authority after 1,241 tenants died of the coronavirus and thousands more became ill with the virus because the buildings were not properly sanitized. According to a report in the New York Post, the class action lawsuit seeks $5 billion in compensation including expenses for medical conditions and complications, medical expenses, loss of earnings and funeral expenses for those who died.

Residence Allege Negligence (Carelessness)

The city’s health department said more than 6,000 residents of NYCHA units have been infected with the coronavirus. The claim states that NYCHA employees allowed the virus to spread by failing to enforce social distancing guidelines and neglecting to sanitize commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, mailboxes, handrails and staircases.

One of the residents at Mitchel Houses in the Bronx told the Post that he was left fighting for his life after the catching the virus in late March. The 28-year-old was placed in a medically-induced coma and was hooked up to a ventilator for more than a month. He was miraculously released from the hospital after six weeks and was transferred to a rehabilitation center where he needed help to eat and had to learn to walk again.

Another man who lives in Manhattanville Houses in West Harlem said he contracted the virus along with his wife and son. His wife and 20-year-old son recovered. But, the man who had several health conditions including diabetes and heart failure, said he nearly died, and was fortunate to make it out of the hospital alive. He said the housing authority did not have any plans for managing crowds while hundreds of people walked in and out of the building.

NYCHA has also faced a slew of lawsuits over lead paint in units that have caused lead poisoning, especially among younger residents. The authority under federal supervision undertook an enormous project to test units for lead paint, an effort that has stalled during the coronavirus pandemic.

Responsibility of Property Owners and Managers

Property owners and property managers have the responsibility under the law to protect tenants’ health and safety. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect their tenants as well as visitors. For example, common areas in apartment complexes must be sanitized. Objects that people commonly touch in an apartment complex such as elevator buttons, doorknobs, mailboxes, handrails and staircases, must be cleaned often. Landlords should also shut down pools and community centers where people tend to congregate.

Property owners should inform staff members such as janitors to not come to work if they show any symptoms of illness. Custodial staff should also be required to thoroughly and more frequently clean and disinfect surfaces that residents or visitors touch. Property owners and managers must inform and send communications such as emails and/or fliers to tenants about the safety protocols they have undertaken.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

Please remember that you have legal rights – whether you have been living as a tenant at a private apartment complex or in a public housing unit (the Projects). If you have been diagnosed with the coronavirus (or other medical conditions and injuries) as a result of the property owner or property manager’s negligence (carelessness), or if your child has been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords 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.

A victim or his or her family would benefit from immediately contacting the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm, who can help them better understand their legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for them.

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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