William J. Greagan, a trial attorney in the Albany, New York, office, obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an owner of commercial property involved in a lead paint exposure case venued in Albany County. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant landlord was negligent due to lead poisoning in the plaintiff’s apartment. The plaintiff had a peak lead level of 29, with an elevated lead level for approximately two and a half to five years.
The defendant owned a three unit apartment house and had two prior lead violations in other apartments within the building. The plaintiff was diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Cognitive Disorder NOS and Learning Disorder NOS, which the plaintiff’s experts claimed were caused by the lead exposure. At the time of trial, the plaintiff was 18 years old and had been in special education classes since the first grade. He had an IQ of 78. Plaintiff’s counsel had an economist who gave a reduced earnings potential of $1.1 million
The defense conceded knowledge of lead on the premises and knowledge that lead was a hazard to young children. It denied notice of the existence of a child under six years of age in the apartment and notice of peeling and chipping paint in the apartment. The defense demonstrated that a plaintiff’s neurobehavioral conditions were not proximately caused by lead exposure.
During the trial, plaintiff’s counsel increased the demand from $1.6 million to $2 million. After an eight-day trial, the jury of five women and one man found notice of a lead paint hazard and negligence but no causation.