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A lawsuit with some weight
A 900-plus-page lead-paint lawsuit in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

A lawsuit with some weight

I’m not sure what it says about us a society, but the lawsuits it seems I see most frequently filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court are motor torts. (Perhaps we all need to retake drivers’ ed.)

I also seem to see at least one lead-paint lawsuit filed daily in the courthouse. These are fairly easy to pick out from the pile of folders for their size — the thicker the folder, the more likely it’s a lawsuit involving a child who allegedly suffered lead-paint poisoning. I’ve seen lawsuits that were more than 200 pages long.

But Tuesday, I came across a lead-paint lawsuit so big it didn’t even fit in the folder. (You can see a picture of it above.) The suit on behalf of Antoine Riggins, who turned 21 on Tuesday, checks in at 924 pages and 269 counts. The list of defendants alone runs six pages.

The lawsuit was filed by Saul E. Kerpelman, whose eponymous Baltimore firm specializes in lead-paint cases. He was not fazed by the size of the lawsuit when I spoke with him Tuesday because that is often the nature of his work.

Some of his clients move in and out of multiple houses when they are children. Each residence might have a different landlord or a holding company that is owned by another holding company which is owned by an individual. As a result, one address might result in five or 10 different people being sued, he said.

“The landlord is trying to hide,” he said. “My job is to try to not let them hide.”

Add up dozens of defendants for dozens of properties, and you get lengthy complaints.

“It’s the way these cases are,” Kerpelman said, adding that some defendants will be dropped as more evidence is uncovered in the case.

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