The New York City Housing Authority came under attack by local newspapers in recent months when it was discovered the NYCHA failed to provide legally mandated lead paint inspections, that when those inspections were provided they were often performed by under-trained personnel, and that the NYCHA lied and obfuscated in an attempt to keep the public from recognizing the extent of the danger faced by thousands of children as a result of the Housing Authority’s inaction.
Now, a jury has been allowed to voice its opinion on the shortcoming of the NYCHA, awarding a 57 million dollar judgment to a family whose daughter’s exposure to lead paint resulted in blood levels 9 times higher than the scientifically determined danger level. The mother complained dozens of times to the Housing Authority but was only able to get the apartment inspected after blood tests revealed the extent of the exposure.
Though fifty-seven million is a significant amount of money, the health effects of lead exposure in children are significant enough that even this dollar figure might prove insufficient to provide necessary care for the young woman over the course of her life. High levels of lead in the blood are associated with many health risks, including organ failure, but also with developmental disabilities that can require years of educational supports. The cost of tutors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, and other experts can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, in addition to direct health costs. These specialists are necessary if the child suffering from a cognitive disability is to have any chance to keep up with their peers.
If your child might have suffered due to lead exposure in the New York City area, and the NYCHA proved unwilling to ensure proper inspections were performed, please consult with an experienced attorney. Until the City and governmental organizations such as the Housing Authority are held responsible for dangerous inaction, children will continue to suffer as a result.