A Baltimore City jury orders an apartment complex to pay $6 million dollars to a boy who was exposed to lead. But the property manager says the evidence doesn't support the ruling. They insist the exposure came from another location.
Anotonio Ross was just two years old when his grandmother started noticing problems in the apartment where he, his two older siblings, and his mother were living. Cheralyn Grant raised red flags to the managers of Garden Village Apartments.
"I was like can you come and fix my ceilings. It's leaking and there’s lead in the windows, not lead, but paint chippings," said Grant.
Records show lead was found at the townhome at the same time medical tests showed Antonio had more than double the lead limit set by the Centers for Disease Control. But the sides disagree on where the boy was exposed and how fast the problem was addressed.
"They didn't address them in a timely fashion and when they did address them they didn't do it in a workman-like manner," said Bruce Powell, the plaintiff’s attorney.
The attorney for Garden Village Apartments says Antonio Ross was spending several hours a week with his father at a row house on Cliffview Avenue. The defense says this is where the young boy was exposed to lead.
"There was no dispute at trial that for a two, two-and-a-half year period he had constant levels which was consistent with the plaintiff's own expert a continuous, ongoing exposure," said Defense Attorney Chad Joseph.
The Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning says this case should be a wake-up call.
"It does tell you that lead can still exist in some windows, in doors. It tells you it's very important where children are spending time that exposure can happen in the home. It can happen in a secondary home. It can happen in childcare," said the Coalition’s Executive Director, Ruth Ann Norton.
"It's really not about the money. It really should be about the kids or whoever might get the lead," said Grant.
The management company hasn't decided whether it will appeal the case.
Maryland sets a cap for victim's compensation. Antonio will receive about $600,000 when he turns 18.
Copyright 2008 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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