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Maryland Landlord Liability Shield Overturned

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aryland’s Court of Appeal, the highest in the state, has unanimously ruled against a 1994 state law which capped liability for landlords whose tenants suffered lead poisoning while living at their property.

According to a Law360.com report, the Maryland court ruled 7-0 in favor or reversing the Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Act, passed nearly 20 years ago which capped liability for landlords in cases where their tenants suffered lead poisoning after ingesting or being exposed to lead paint at $17,000. The amount was equal to $7,500 for medical expenses and another $9,500 for relocation expenses, according to the report.

Judges ruled this violated Article 19 of the state’s Declaration of Rights and said the cap placed on liability is “miniscule” and barely represents a fraction of the costs and suffering incurred by a renters simply because the landlord was negligent in abating the property of lead paint.

To qualify for the virtual immunity from liability, a landlord needed only to have a property registered with the state and then provide a pamphlet to prospective tenants on the dangers of lead poisoning.

The judges ruled on a case originally filed in 2002 by a Baltimore, Md., mother and daughter. Tameka Jackson claimed her daughter, Zi’Tashia, ate peeling paint chips at two apartments in the city owned by The Dackman Co. Jackson claims she repeatedly asked for repairs to be made addressing the peeling paint but nothing was ever done. Zi’Tashia eventually suffered severe and permanent brain injuries as a result of ingesting the lead paint chips in the apartments.

Lower courts ruled The Dackman Co. was protected under the 1994 state law but Jackson eventually had her appeal heard by the state’s high court, which ruled the law unconstitutional and that Jackson had been denied due process and a jury trial.

breakinglawsuitnews.com disclaimer: This article: Maryland Landlord Liability Shield Overturned was posted on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 at 2:54 pm at breakinglawsuitnews.com and is filed under Toxic Substances Lawsuits.

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