Lead poisoning lawyers from New York and New Jersey-based personal injury law firm Levy Konigsberg LLP win a $700,000 verdict on behalf of a twelve-year-old New Jersey boy, who was poisoned by lead paint in his early childhood.
NEWARK, New Jersey, May 6, 2015 – On Friday, May 1, 2015, a jury of eight awarded $700,000 to a twelve-year-old boy who was lead poisoned at two separate apartments between the ages of two and five, after a three-week trial. Lead poisoning lawyers Alan Konigsberg and Corey Stern from the New York and New Jersey-based personal injury law firm Levy Konigsberg LLP won the verdict in the Superior Court of Essex County, New Jersey.
After settling with two defendants during the trial for $250,000, the jury deliberated for almost six hours and returned a verdict in favor of the minor child for $700,000 as a result of the remaining defendant’s negligence in his ownership, operation, maintenance, repair and control of the first apartment where the child lived.
Lead is a naturally occurring chemical element found in the earth’s crust. It is eternal and cannot be altered or diluted. Like all elements, the lead will exist forever, in the same quantity that it exists today and has existed since the beginning of time. Lead is a neurotoxin, so, when certain quantities are absorbed by people, specifically children under the age of seven, lead causes brain damage. Lead poisoning is in fact brain poisoning.
The fact that lead is poisonous has been known for thousands of years. In the last hundred years, lead was most commonly known for its use in gasoline. Lead began to be added to gasoline in the 1920s to reduce knocking or pinging within internal combustion engines. Due to the harmful effects of leaded gasoline on people’s health, as well as its negative environmental impact, leaded gasoline was phased out through various legislative efforts. Unleaded gasoline was introduced to the mainstream in 1974.
Today, the most widespread place where lead is found is in old paint. Buildings constructed before 1970 typically contained paint that was lead-based. Lead in paint served as a filler and as a whitening agent. But the use of lead-based paint was banned almost four decades ago, in 1978. Anyone who has ever owned a home, let alone a sophisticated landlord, knows that lead-based paint is not permitted. An individual cannot close on a property without executing disclosures associated with lead-based paint, as mandated by state and federal law.
Lead-based paint becomes dangerous to young children when it chips, flakes, or is contained on friction surfaces, like window sills, where dust can be created. Children, particularly very young children, are most susceptible to ingesting lead paint because of how their mobility evolves – from rolling around on the ground to learning to crawl, to learning to prop oneself up, to being able to stand, to walking. Children are, naturally, prone to placing things in their mouths. So the dust that might accumulate on a friction surface can easily find its way to a child’s hand and mouth sooner than it would an adult. To compound matters, lead-based paint chips have a sweet taste, so if a child puts one in his mouth, he will likely enjoy the taste and be prone to do it repeatedly.
Unlike polio, chickenpox, and the flu, there is no vaccine for lead poisoning. There is also no cure. Once a child ingests a certain amount of lead he will be lead poisoned. And even if the lead is flushed from his body, the poisoning that occurs is irreversible.
The young plaintiff ingested lead through paint chips that were flaking from peeling and chipping paint in each of the apartments, as well as from dust that occurred due to opening and closing windows and doors that had been previously painted with lead-based paint. Paint chips taste sweet, so a young child that tastes one will likely like the way it tastes and seeks more out.
Experts for the child testified at trial that as a result of his lead poisoning, he suffered permanent cognitive impairment, had an IQ of 81, and would never be able to perform twelfth-grade work. They also testified that had he not been lead poisoned, he would have been able to obtain an advanced degree after graduating from high school.
The lead poisoning lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP litigate lead-caused brain damage cases against negligent landlords and their agents throughout New Jersey and New York. This verdict marks the largest in Essex County, New Jersey for a lead-poisoned child in a decade.