January 20, 2011 – Lead poisoning lawyer from the New York-based personal injury law firm of Levy Konigsberg LLP obtains a settlement of $3 Million on behalf of a mother and her thirteen-year-old son poisoned by lead paint when he was three. The settlement is believed to be the largest settlement for a single lead poisoned child in New York State.

New York Lead Poisoning Lawyer Obtains $3 Million Settlement for Child Poisoned by Lead Paint

Lead poisoning lawyer from the New York-based personal injury law firm of Levy Konigsberg LLP obtains a settlement of $3 Million on behalf of a mother and her thirteen-year-old son poisoned by lead paint when he was three. The settlement is believed to be the largest settlement for a single lead poisoned child in New York State.

BRONX, New York, January 20, 2011 – A New York lead poisoning lawyer at Levy Konigsberg LLP announced today that a settlement has been reached in the case of Alexandra Colon and her now thirteen-year-old son Stephon Barnhardt1, who sustained a number of severe injuries as a result of having been poisoned by lead paint while residing at their apartment in Uptown Manhattan when the child was three years old. The settlement in the amount of $3 Million is believed to be the largest settlement for a single lead poisoned child in New York State.

For a period of nearly eighteen months after his family moved to the apartment building at 315 West 115th Street in Harlem, New York, Stephon Barnhardt was exposed to lead based paint, whose toxicity is known for its damaging effects to the health and development of children under the age of seven. Stephon was three when tests performed by his pediatrician revealed elevated lead-to-blood levels, with the highest reading at 16 micrograms per deciliter, which is 6 micrograms greater than the standard elevated blood lead level for children.

Stephon’s mother, Alexandra Colon, subsequently filed a lawsuit against a group of individuals and business entities believed to be involved in the ownership and management of the building. She alleged that negligent maintenance of their apartment had caused her son to be exposed to hazardous lead-based paint conditions.

Colon’s lawsuit claimed that her son’s lead poisoning resulted in decreased brain functioning, learning disabilities, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Stephon, in fact, has struggled academically since kindergarten, and receives weekly counseling to address his behavioral problems and attention-control issues. The family’s lead poisoning lawyer called to the stand experts in the fields of pediatrics2 and psychology3 to testify as to the extent of Stephon’s injuries.

The lawsuit also claimed that Stephon’s learning difficulties will prevent him from graduating high school and lead to reduced earning capacity as an adult. An expert economist4 estimated for the jury that Stephon will have lost future earnings totaling around $6.3 million. In addition to her lawsuit on Stephon’s behalf, Alexandra Colon also had a derivative claim for loss of services.

During the trial, the defense team argued that the brain-function injuries attributed to the lead that Stephon was exposed to at 315 West 115th Street could have been caused by lead poisoning he suffered before moving into the building. The defense also contended that Stephon’s cognitive deficits could have stemmed from his difficult birth, as he was born prematurely at 3.5 pounds, and suffered respiratory distress as a newborn. Abe Chutorian5, a pediatric neurologist called to the stand by the defense attorney, testified in support of this argument.

However, after Dr. Chutorian was cross-examined by the plaintiff’s attorney, the parties announced that they reached a settlement agreement, according to which Stephon Barnhardt will receive $3 Million paid out by the defendants’ insurance carriers, Legion Insurance Company and Zurich.

The defendants were represented by Sim R. Shapiro of Baxter Smith & Shapiro, P.C., with offices in White Plains, NY.

For more than two decades, lead poisoning lawyers of Levy Konigsberg LLP have consistently won landmark decisions and obtained for their lead poisoned clients some of the largest jury awards and settlements in the nation.

For more information about this or other lead poisoning lawsuits, please contact Levy Konigsberg LLP at 212-605-6200 or 1-800-988-8005, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

IMPORTANT: If you believe that you or your child has been lead-poisoned, you should speak with an experienced lead poisoning attorney regarding your legal rights. Contact the lead poisoning lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP for a free consultation by calling our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 1-800-988-8005 or by submitting an email inquiry (see form above).

1 Stephon Barnhardt, an infant by his mother and natural guardian, Alexandra Colon, and Alexandra Colon, Individually vs.
   315 West 115th Street Co. L.P., et al., No. 26727/02 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., Bronx County);
2 William Bithoney, M.D., pediatrics, Springfield, MA;
3 Edward Hoffman, Ph.D., psychology/counseling, New York, NY;
4 Gary M. Crakes, Ph.D., economics, Cheshire, CT;
5 Abe M. Chutorian, M.D., pediatric neurology, New York, NY.

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