A Baltimore jury this week awarded more than $1.7 million to a brain-damaged victim of lead poisoning sustained during the 18 months the then-preschooler lived in a rental property in the city in the late 1990s.
The circuit court jury deliberated for about two hours before finding City Homes Inc. liable for negligently managing Dilan Sumpter’s North Wolfe Street early childhood home, where he ingested flaking and peeling paint, according to his trial counsel.
Sumpter, represented by The Yost Legal Group, presented medical evidence at trial that his blood lead level reached 12 micrograms per deciliter during his time in the house. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use a reference level of 5 micrograms per deciliter to identify youngsters with blood lead levels that are much higher than most children’s levels.
The evidence also showed that Sumpter lost between nine and 15 IQ points and suffers deficits in cognition due to his lead exposure between ages 3 and 5.
A vocational expert for Sumpter, who is now 26, testified at trial that Sumpter’s brain damage would result in a lost earning capacity of $1,725,936 over his lifetime – the amount the jury awarded him Tuesday after about two hours of deliberation, according to Thomas F. Yost Jr., founder and principal at the Baltimore-based plaintiffs’ firm.
“We are very grateful that justice was done for our client,” Yost said Thursday. “That’s our job.”
City Homes’ lead counsel, Frank F. Daily, declined to comment. He is the founder of The Law Offices of Frank F. Daily P.A. in Baltimore.
According to Yost, the defense argued that Sumpter did not sustain the damaging lead poisoning at the Baltimore home but at another childhood residence.
Sumpter’s complaint, filed in May 2017, stated that he lived with his mother at the North Wolfe Street residence from September 1996 to February 1998, when it was owned by City Homes.
Lead-based paint was found in the home during an April 1994 inspection but was not remediated until July 1997, when City Homes removed wooden components with lead-based paint, according to Yost.
Sumpter’s mother testified that she recalled flaking paint at the residence and that the area being remediated was not sealed off. She also testified that she and her son were not told to leave the home during remediation, Yost stated.
Dilan Sumpter v. City Homes Inc. et al.
Court: Baltimore City Circuit Court
Case No.: 24-C-17-002383
Judge: Michael A. DiPietro
Proceeding: Jury trial
Outcome: Verdict for plaintiff, $1,725,936.
Incident: September 1996-February 1998
Suit filed: May 3, 2017
Verdict: June 4, 2019
Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Michael A. Pulver and Samuel R. Pulver of The Yost Legal Group in Baltimore
Defendants’ Attorneys: Frank F. Daily and Lisa M. Morgan of The Law Offices of Frank F. Daily P.A. in Baltimore