Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Her kids were awarded $2.6 million because of lead poisoning suffered in Baltimore City’s public housing. But last week, a judge ruled the city didn’t have to pay up. Now that mother is speaking to WJZ.
Monique Griego has more.
An appellate judge ruled the family didn’t report the injuries within the required time. Now that mother finds herself once again fighting for her children.
During the early 1990s, a West Baltimore neighborhood on Fayette Street is where 21-year-old Antonio Fulgham and his sister, 20-year-old Brittney McCutcheon, played as toddlers. Back then, they had no idea the public housing they lived in was slowly poisoning them with lead in the form of lead paint.
“I blame the city, I do. I blame the city, I blame housing of Baltimore City, because that’s where it come from,” said their mother.
Their mother, who asked WJZ to hide her identity, says when her kids tested positive for abnormally high lead levels, she complained to the Housing Authority but nothing was ever done.
The home the family lived in has since been torn down but it wasn’t until years after they moved out of this neighborhood that the kids realized how much damage had been done to them.
“Antonio reads off a first-grade reading book. Brittney is on a second-grade reading book. My children are struggling,” she said.
In 2007, the family sued the city and won $2.6 million but last week an appellate judge reversed that ruling, saying the family didn’t notify the city within 180 days of the injuries as required by law. Their mother says she did report it…just not in writing.
“I just feel like they trying to cover it up. Like they saying I have to put it in writing; they never said that,” she said.
In a statement, the Housing Authority says, “It is committed to addressing lead paint judgments in a fair and responsible way. However, it also has responsibility to defend against unfounded lawsuits to protect limited resources for the 50,000 low-income housing residents we serve today.”
She still believes the city is using a technicality to avoid responsibility.
The family now has 45 days to appeal this latest decision.