A lead poisoning attorney at the NY & NJ-based personal injury law firm Levy Konigsberg LLP has obtained a $3 Million verdict for a New York child who suffered brain injuries as a result of lead paint poisoning.
BRONX, New York, October 11, 2013 – A New York lead poisoning attorney at Levy Konigsberg LLP reported today that yesterday afternoon at 4:38, following a four week trial in the Supreme Court before Judge Norma Ruiz, a Bronx jury awarded a young girl $3 Million for brain injuries she suffered as a result of being lead poisoned in her family’s apartment when she was five years old in 2004. The child’s mother was satisfied that justice had been done and that her daughter would be compensated by the owner and the managing agent of the building where they lived at the time the incident occurred.
Prior to the jury hearing the case, a determination was made by the Court that the owner was responsible for the conditions existing in the apartment and for the girl’s lead poisoning as a result of their negligence, and the jury had to determine whether the managing agent was also responsible and whether the child had suffered any damages as a result of her lead poisoning.
The child had only lived in that one apartment following her birth, and, during the entire time she lived there, through the age of five, the family constantly complained about damaged paint conditions existing in the apartment. The child’s mother testified that although the damaged conditions were repaired, they were never repaired adequately. As a result, at the age of five, shortly before the child was to attend kindergarten, she was diagnosed with a blood lead level of 19 micrograms per deciliter, which is almost double the definition of lead poisoning set by the New York State Department of Health and the Federal Centers for Disease Control. Although her lead level dropped to 13 in October 2004, and to 8 in May 2005, the permanent brain damage caused by lead poisoning had already occurred.
Lead poisons the brain and the central nervous system of children at levels of 10 micrograms per deciliter and higher. It is mistaken by the child’s body as calcium and is stored in the child’s bones. It is also mistaken by the child’s body as iron, and it is carried in the blood and stored in the child’s body’s soft tissue and in her brain. Lead is especially toxic to children under the age of seven, as that is the age when brain development occurs. That is the age when the brain develops the bridges over which information travels, is stored, processed, and retained. Lead impacts the growth and development of dendrites, the finger-like endings, which allow brain cells to communicate with each other. It also impacts the myelin, which is a coating that allows brain cells to communicate quickly with each other, and it interferes with neurotransmitters in the brain, which are chemical substances in the brain that allow the transfer of impulses between brain cells. As a result, lead poisoning causes reduced intelligence, cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, attention problems, and behavioral issues. Since these changes are physical they are permanent and irreversible. Although these changes cannot be seen on an MRI or on an x-ray, they have been reported by scientists and researchers from the CDC and other well-respected institutions, which have performed autopsies on lead-poisoned children who have died from other causes.
Plaintiff’s attorney called experts in the fields of psychology, pediatrics, and economics to assist the jury in understanding how the child’s ingestion of lead in her apartment impacted her brain development, injured her, and how those injuries have affected her. These experts informed the jury that as a result of her lead poisoning her intelligence had been reduced and that she suffered specific learning disabilities in writing and reading comprehension. They further testified that as a result of her injuries she no longer had the ability to complete a four-year college program and would not be able to achieve twelfth-grade proficiency. As a result of her injuries and her reduced ability to obtain an education, the economist testified that her future job opportunities would be limited and her lifetime earnings over her work life would be reduced by almost $2.5 million dollars.
The jury of five women and one man rejected the arguments by the managing agent that it was only responsible to provide back-office services to the owner of the building and that it was not responsible for painting, repairs, or maintenance of the individual apartments in the building, including the child’s apartment. The jury also rejected the managing agent’s argument that the child was not damaged as a result of her lead poisoning and that she still had average intelligence and would still be able to graduate from high school and go on to graduate from a four-year college program. The experts called by the defendants argued that the child’s intelligence was in the average range, that she was never placed in a special education program or diagnosed with learning disabilities, and that she was never left back a grade in school. These experts also argued that whatever difficulties the child was having in school were caused as a result of her attending a school that had received a rating of “F” from the NYC Board of Education and not the result of her lead poisoning. Finally, the defendant argued that the child would have no future lost income because all of her future job opportunities would still be available to her.
The owner was unrepresented at trial. The managing agent was represented by Timothy Gallagher of McMahon, Martine & Gallagher, LLP, with offices in Brooklyn, New York.
For more than two decades, lead poisoning attorneys of Levy Konigsberg LLP have consistently won landmark decisions and obtained for their led poisoned clients some of the largest jury awards and settlements in the nation.