The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has overturned a $2.6 million lawsuit brought by two siblings against the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) over exposure to lead poisoning while they were children and living in public housing. HABC had appealed the judgment with claims that the plaintiffs failed to give proper notice of their claims, and because evidence showed the absence of lead paint at one residence and the absence of lead dust at the other property involved in the lawsuit.
“HABC is committed to addressing lead paint judgments in a fair and responsible way; however, we also have responsibility to defend against unfounded lawsuits to protect limited resources for the 50,000 low income housing residents we serve today,” said HABC Executive Director Paul Graziano. “Of course we remain deeply concerned about anyone who may have suffered any injury as a result of lead paint poisoning,” a press release issued the by housing authority said.
The appellate judge also said the plaintiffs waited too long to bring the lawsuit, as those poisoned by lead paint generally have until the age of 21 to file a lawsuit against a private landlord, however the law is different when the local government is the acting landlord.
Currently, HABC has refused to pay more than $11 million in court awards over lead paint exposure and said that, “HABC neither has the means nor the independent authority to pay the judgments.”