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Jury awards $2M in lead-paint case

A Baltimore City Circuit Court jury has awarded more than $2 million to a teenager who suffered permanent brain damage after being exposed to lead paint as a baby.

The award for Daquantay Robinson includes more than $818,000 in noneconomic damages that will be capped at $545,000 under Maryland law.

The jury returned its verdict Friday following three-and-a-half hours of deliberation at the end of a week-long trial before Judge Alfred Nance.

Robinson suffered lead-paint poisoning while living with his mother and grandmother in the 1600 block of 25th Street from his birth in 1997 until 2001, according to the complaint. Elevated levels of lead were found in his blood after tests in December 1997 and May 1998, the complaint said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, at the time, considered a blood-lead level above 10 to be cause for concern; Robinson’s levels ranged between 12 and 14, according to the complaint, filed in November 2012. (As of July 2012, the CDC changed the level for children. It now says there is no safe level for lead exposure in children, and considers a blood-lead level of 5 to indicate that a child requires case management.)

Robinson’s mother and grandmother testified during the trial that there was flaking and chipping paint in the house, and environmental testing in 2013 found nine surfaces that had been painted with lead-based paint, according to Bruce H. Powell, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. Photographs and other evidence showed the house underwent “extensive renovations” since the plaintiff’s family moved out, according to Powell, with The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl in Baltimore.

The property was owned by the Dackman Co. and managed by Jacob Dackman & Sons LLC. Frank F. Daily of The Law Offices of Frank F. Daily P.A. in Hunt Valley, a lawyer for the defendants, declined to comment.

A medical expert testified Robinson, now a high school junior, lost several IQ points and has learning disabilities and behavior problems as a result of the lead-paint poisoning, Powell said after the verdict. The lawyer also credited the testimony of Robinson’s grandmother, Sandra Moses, as helping to sway the jury of four men and two women.

Moses told jurors she called her landlord after noticing the deteriorating paint and was told she should have called about that before she moved in, according to Powell.

“There was this sort of uncaring attitude,” Powell said.

DAQUANTAY ROBINSON V. ELLIOT DACKMAN, ET AL.

Court:

Baltimore City Circuit Court

Case No.:

24C1200689

Judge:

Alfred Nance

Outcome:

Verdict for $2,088,550 — $1,270,000 in economic damages, $818,330 in noneconomic damages, capped at $545,000.

Dates:

Incident: 1997 through 2001

Suit filed: Nov. 28, 2012

Verdict: Sept. 19, 2014

Plaintiff’s Attorneys:

Bruce H. Powell and Joseph T. Spicer of The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl in Baltimore

Defendants’ Attorneys:

Frank F. Daily and Kimberly B. Gordon of The Law Offices of Frank F. Daily P.A. in Hunt Valley

Count:

Negligence


About Danny Jacobs

Danny Jacobs is the legal editor at The Daily Record. He previously covered trial courts at the state and local levels and served as web editor.

One comment

  1. dailyrecord@list.law.umaryland.edu

    Against whom was the lawsuit brought?