Court Overturns $2.6 M Lead Paint Judgment Because Of Legal Technicality

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Just as vehicles owned by the city housing authority were about to be sent to auction to pay for damages in a lead paint lawsuit, a judge has overturned the case.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, the family who won the case may never see a dime of the $2.6 million in damages awarded by a jury.

Federal scientists estimate that 95 percent of homes built before 1950 contain lead in the form of lead paint. Brittany McCutcheon and her brother Antonio Fulgham were born in one of those lead paint homes—owned by the city of Baltimore.

In the early 90s the family lived in two housing authority-owned homes on West Fayette Street in West Baltimore. It was during this time that both of the children were tested and found to have abnormally high levels of lead.  After the family moved out of the homes, they were demolished.

When the lead was detected in their blood, their mother traveled downtown and filed a written complaint with the housing authority.

Years later, testing found that McCutcheon and Fulgham operate at a third- and fifth-grade level of intelligence.

They sued the city and won $2.6 million. But now an appellate judge says the mother didn’t follow the law, saying the city wasn’t notified it was going to be sued within 180 days of the children sustaining their injuries. So, this week, the case was overturned.

David Albright Jr. represented the children and questioned how intent to sue could be given within 180 days when lead poisoning affects aren’t seen for years.

“It’s virtually impossible,” Albright said.

He says his clients don’t understand why the city won’t accept what the city has done to them.

“They’re responsible,” Albright said. “Now regardless whether it’s a legal technicality, it’s certainly morally responsible.”

The housing commissioner was unavailable for comment. He earlier wrote he was pleased with the court’s decision.

The victims’ mother was unable to talk extensively with WJZ because she’s working a double shift at her job. But she did say she was angry with the court’s decision.

The attorney says he has 45 days to file an appeal with the full Court of Appeals.

More from Mike Schuh
  • Gayle G

    With this being a city owned property, who owns it exactly? The taxpayers??

  • Mary Kelly

    Yea Yea yea and The Baltimore City Schools were not held accountable for LEAD in the drinking water in ALL THE SCHOOLS……EITHER
    WHY are there so many special education needs ??

  • deltasweetiepi

    This outcome was not difficult to predict…one of the reasons education is important for all people as not to be tossed aside by the system.

  • Debbie

    Why aren’t they blaming their mother for failing to watch them properly and letting them eat lead paint? Oh right. Because they can’t get big bucks from her.

    • ann

      i asked myself that same question?

      • sharon

        Ann,…..No, you dumb ass, they like people who can spell & put a sentence together correctly.

  • Don

    Me and my sister have lead bad and I call a lawyer up and they say there can’t not help me out I think it was wrong why I said this because my life is so hard now when my cuz come home with his homework I can’t help him because and keep getting harder I had a job but I mess up because problem doing the stuff they need me to do I need help Thank You

    • theox

      if you you can get on the internet, find this web page, and type this stuff, you can get a job.

      • ann

        i agree with THEOX, even though it is unfortunate that you have this present condition, if you are able to navigate the iinternet than you have skills and employer can use.. just have to find the right place..

    • Don

      Because I am 23 year old

  • AD 2536

    WJZ does not let me post my comment !

    • ann

      i agree with this it told me to slow down i was posting toomany of them.. wat the hell?! i guess they only like nice commentes

  • 3katsdown

    Thousands of people lived in lead paint houses and most of us can,t file a claim against the city.I wish they stop running ads on Radio One that ask people to file lead paint claims! I think all of us could make a claim against the city we once lived in?The Violence effects us all of our lives?

  • R. Lynn

    They are right in saying that the impact of lead isn’t seen for years in children. The effects are horrible and someone should be held accountable. You do not have to eat the lead for the environmental effects to impact the children. This is ridiculous and I feel bad for them. Someone should be held accountable. Until you have experienced the horrible impact of lead on your children, please don’t comment negatively. They aren’t at fault. The homeowner is…whether or not it is the City of Baltimore or a private entity.

    • easy e

      The fact is that back in the ’50s lead paint was the norm. No one had a crystal ball to predict that it would create health hazards. But to sue for $2.7M? – c’mon. I’m glad there are no instant millionaires here.

  • Donna

    WOW… It’s amazing how many racist remarks and innuendos there are on this blog. You can best believe that if these people were white, you would be raising the roof in disgust that the city wouldn’t pay them. But because they are black, they are “urban guerrilla blacks”, the mother was on every drug known to man, and they’ll buy up cars if they had the money. You people re incredibly STUPID. Seems everything comes down to skin color with you. My son had a high level of lead in his blood from the paint our landlord had in his house. I didn’t live in low income housing, I didn’t feed the paint to my kids, and I had a job. Now what does that say for all these stupid-assed remarks made solely on stupid people and their racist ways.

  • Peter

    You stay classy Baltimore?

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