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Top 5: ‘Wrongly placed blame’

A simple broken wrist is costing the city of Baltimore $30,000, and two attorneys have been disbarred in Maryland for their conduct in Virginia and Washington, D.C. Those stories and more in this week’s legal affairs top 5.

1. Audit faults Maryland child support program – by Erin Drenning

The agency responsible for operating Maryland’s child support program has been lacking in its collection efforts, according to a report published Monday by the Office of Legislative Audits.

The state auditors said the Child Support Enforcement Administration failed to establish wage withholding for thousands of noncustodial parents and to correct Social Security numbers the agency knew were incorrect, even when it was given the correct numbers.

2. Broken wrist during traffic stop to cost city $30K – by Andy Marso

The city of Baltimore is poised to pay $30,000 to a furnace repairman named Michael Wright, who claims a police officer dragged him out of a vehicle and broke his wrist during a traffic stop in 2009.

In February, the city settled for $90,000 with Severna Park resident Ira Todd, who claimed a police officer broke his arm during an arrest in 2009.

3. 2 disbarred in Maryland for misconduct in Va., D.C. – by Danielle Ulman

Maryland’s top court has disbarred two attorneys who were first banned from practice in other regional jurisdictions.

Following a Sept. 1 hearing, the Court of Appeals disbarred Lucille Saundra White; the court disbarred Spencer Dean Ault after his Sept. 7 hearing. Both orders were effective immediately.

Bar Counsel routinely refuses to comment on disbarment cases.

4. Lead paint lawsuit targets Kennedy Krieger – by Andy Marso

Two Baltimore lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of at least 75 families they say were poisoned while participating in a lead-paint abatement study performed by the Kennedy Krieger Institute in the mid-1990s.

Thomas F. Yost Jr. of The Yost Legal Group and William H. Murphy Jr. of Murphy PA filed the suit yesterday in Baltimore City Circuit Court, naming as the sole defendant the prestigious medical institute that treats children with disabilities.

5. Jury awards $5.1M in lead-poisoning case – by Steve Lash

A Baltimore City Circuit Court jury has awarded $5.1 million to a brain-damaged woman who spent nine of the first 12 years of her life in a rented home with flaking lead-based paint.

The award to 20-year-old Brittany S. Hazelwood includes $4.2 million in compensation for her pain and suffering and $900,000 in compensation for her economic losses.