Maryland Jury Awards $2.5 Million Baltimore Lead Paint Verdict to Siblings

More than 15 years after Dontae and Searra Wallace’s mother moved them into a City Homes rental in an effort to protect them from additional lead exposure, a Maryland jury has awarded the siblings over $2.5 million for their Baltimore personal injuries caused by lead poisoning.

Searra, 17, and Dontae, 20, sustained permanent behavioral and cognitive disabilities. They are unlikely to graduate from high school or get a GED, and their IQ’s are below average. Dontae dropped out of school four years ago and Searra failed two grades.

Their mother, Tiffini, says that the family moved out of a rental that used lead paint into a City Homes Inc. home. She says the nonprofit group told her the Baltimore City row house was safe.

Witnesses for the plaintiffs, however, say that while the lead paint was contained to a certain degree, the kids were still exposed to lead. There were paint flakes and chips in several areas of the residence. One wall got wet during storms, and rats that chewed on walls left behind lead dust.

The defendants of the Maryland lead paint lawsuit, City Homes and its president Barry Mankowitz, have said that the home the Wallaces were living in were inspected before and after the family lived there. They claimed that the Wallace siblings have disabilities because they were exposed to dangerous levels of lead before they moved into the City Homes residence.

Tiffini moved the family into the home on Booth Street after joining a Kennedy Krieger Institute Inc. study. The study has been criticized for persuading parents to live in residences where lead was contained in varying levels so that researchers could find out whether there were less costly means to protect kids from lead poisoning.

We now know that even the smallest exposure to lead can cause children to suffer from lead poisoning, which can be detrimental to their cognitive and behavioral development. Lead paint in a home is a Maryland premises liability.

The jury found City Homes and its president Barry Mankowitz guilty of negligent misrepresentation and negligence. They awarded Searra $1.3 million and Dontae $1.2 million.

$2.5 million awarded in lead-paint lawsuit, Baltimore Sun, November 4, 2009
Baltimore City Lead Paint Lawsuit Results in $2.5M Verdict, About Lawsuits, November 5, 2009
Related Web Resources:

Environmental Protection Agency

What You Should Know About Lead Based Paint in Your Home: Safety Alert, Consumer Product Safety Commission

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