The lead poisoning attorneys at Levy Konigsberg LLP are taking on the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) for failing to make federally and locally mandated annual lead paint inspections for years. Under the New York City Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act (“Local Law 1 of 2004”), NYCHA is required to conduct annual visual inspections of every public housing unit built before 1960 where a child under the age of six resides. Up until 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), under the Lead Safe Housing Rule, required that NYCHA make annual general inspections of every apartment it owned, in addition to lead paint inspections in those units where the presence of lead paint had not been ruled out, regardless of the age of the residents.
In 2012, the HUD regulations requiring annual general inspections were relaxed, but the rules regarding lead paint inspections remained in place. Of the 176,066 units in NYCHA’s purview, approximately 55,000 units required continued lead inspections under the relaxed HUD rule, and approximately 4,200 units required annual inspections under Local Law 1 of 2004. However, after the 2012 rule change, NYCHA simply ceased inspecting all of its apartments—including those units that were at risk of containing lead-based paint and lead-based paint dust—yet told the federal government that the lead paint inspections were being conducted. From 2013-2016, NYCHA continued to certify to the federal government that it was in compliance with both the HUD and Local Law 1 lead paint inspection rules, though no inspections were being conducted. When a child tested positive for an elevated blood lead level and the New York City Department of Health found lead-based paint in the unit, NYCHA contested the findings so it would not have to abate the lead hazard.
NYCHA’s conduct placed thousands of children at risk of childhood lead poisoning—a condition that causes severe and permanent cognitive damage. Lead is a potent neurotoxin that is particularly dangerous for children aged six and under. Lead disrupts a child’s brain development during critical periods of growth, stunting a child’s ability to develop the critical skills he or she needs to lead a successful life. The effects of childhood lead poisoning last a lifetime, and that is why federal and local rules are designed to prevent exposure in the first place—rules which NYCHA has ignored for years.
Levy Konigsberg attorney Corey Stern, who was appointed lead counsel for all plaintiffs in the Flint Water litigation, in Genesee County, Michigan, and his team have filed a class action lawsuit against NYCHA and other public officials to hold them accountable and help bring justice for the thousands of children exposed to dangerous lead paint conditions in public housing. Any child who has had a detected blood lead level while living in public housing may be entitled to compensation. The lead poisoning attorneys at Levy Konigsberg have won over $100 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of lead poisoned children. If you or your child has been exposed to chipping, peeling, or defective lead-based paint, contact one of our experienced lead poisoning attorneys today for a free case consultation.