Nonprofit hit with $2.5M lead paint verdict

John O'Brien Nov. 10, 2009, 3:14pm

BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - Rather than punishing a paint manufacturer for alleged lead poisoning, a Baltimore City Circuit Court jury has handed down a $2.5 million verdict against a nonprofit that it says sold lead-based paint.

The Wallace family said it rended a rowhouse from City Homes, Inc., for four years and were told by City Homes it was lead safe. Siblings Dontae and Searra suffered development problems as a result of lead exposure and were awarded $2.5 million Nov. 3, a Baltimore Sun report says.

The family moved into the house to take part in Kennedy Krieger Institute's Repair and Maintenance Study. KKI was voluntarily dismissed as a defendant before the trial.

Lead poisoning attorney Evan Thalenberg represented the Wallaces.

Suits against the former manufacturers of lead paint have been mostly unsuccessful, though a Mississippi jury this year hit Sherwin-Williams with a $7 million verdict that is being appealed.

Suits brought against companies by government agencies have failed in Rhode Island, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Missouri and Ohio.

One of the main defenses for those companies has been it is the responsibility of landlords to protect their tenants from lead-related injuries.

In an earlier case, the Maryland Court of Appeals said the KKI study failed to properly warn families about risks.

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