18-Year-Old Gets $2 Million Maryland Lead Paint Award for Injury Lawsuit

A jury has awarded 18-year-old Lakia Roberts $2 million for her Maryland lead paint lawsuit. Roberts was exposed to lead paint during the first six years of her life at the Baltimore rental where she lived.

Her Maryland personal injury lawsuit, filed along with her mother, Learland D. Clark, contended that she suffered from lead poisoning after she ingested paint flakes and chips in their Baltimore rental. As a result, they claim that the teenager experienced a 10 to 12 point loss in IQ and suffers from severe cognitive deficits. The two of them filed their lawsuit in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

The jury found that the home’s landlord, Attsgood Reealty, failed to remove the toxic paint that was peeling off the plaintiffs’ home walls, as well as failed to properly maintain the property. They awarded Roberts and Clark $1.5 million in non-economic damages and $500,000 in economic damages. Maryland’s cap on damages, however, reduces the plaintiffs’ non-economic damages to $350,000—the maximum amount that was allowed under state law in the early 90’s when the plaintiffs had their cause of action. This reduces the plaintiffs’ total judgment to $850,000.

Despite a nationwide ban on lead paint that is over 30-years-old, thousands of older homes—especially those that are poorly maintained—throughout the US still contain lead paint. Over 50% of the housing units in Baltimore City were made before 1950 when lead paint was still being used in homes. According to the United States Census Bureau’s 2005 American Community Survey, in 2007 there were 892 cases of children in Maryland who were diagnosed with high levels of lead in their blood. 624 of those cases involved Baltimore City children.

Also, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that approximately 2/3rds of homes constructed before 1940 and 50% of homes built between 1940 and 1960 have paint on or in them that contain high levels of lead. A number of homes made after the 1960’s may also contain lead paint.

Lead paint can cause serious injury to adults and especially to children—whose mental development may become seriously and permanently impaired. If you or your child was injured or became ill or suffered other mental or physical health issues because of exposure to lead paint, you may have grounds to file a premises liability claim against a negligent landlord or a products liability lawsuit against the company that made the lead paint.

Lead paint victim awarded $2M, The Daily Record, May 15, 2009
What You Should Know About Lead Based Paint in Your Home: Safety Alert, CPSC.gov
Related Web Resources:
For many kids, lead threat is right in their own homes, USA Today, October 28, 2007
General Lead Information, CDC

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