Tenants Sue Landlord for Lead Paint Exposure

Couple files lawsuit against Realtor after baby poisoned by lead paint

Charlie Nye / The Star file photo

Charlie Nye / The Star file photo

Written by
Tim Evans
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The lawsuit filed this week in Marion Superior Court by Mary Wood and Timothy Polk contends Indiana Realty Partners, which leased the home to the couple in 2012, were negligent and “should have known that based upon the condition of the property that the (family) were being exposed to lead … and that there was a significant risk of lead poisoning to the (family).”

Indiana Realty Partners also failed, according to the suit, to provide the couple the required EPA lead hazard information disclosure.

The couple’s young daughter, who was a newborn when they moved into the house, “may require special medical assistance and therapy for years” due to her exposure to lead paint chips and dust, the suit claims.

The suit says testing by the Marion County Public Health Department in May, a year after the family moved into the home, found “hazardous levels of lead paint, lead dust, and lead in the soil.”

Tests conducted in April and May, shortly before and after that inspection, revealed the couple’s daughter had lead levels of 6 micrograms per deciliter of blood and 5 micrograms per deciliter, respectively.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses a level of 5 micrograms as “the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated,” according to information posted on the centers’ website.

“As a direct and proximate result of (the child’s) living at the leased property,” the lawsuit says, “her blood was poisoned with lead causing her damage and injury.”

The extent of the child condition is not clear from the lawsuit, but lead poisoning in children has been found to cause brain damage and other long-term health and behavior problems.

“Exposure to lead can have a wide range of effects on a child’s development and behavior,” according to information on the website of The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

“Even when exposed to small amounts of lead levels, children may appear inattentive, hyperactive and irritable. Children with greater lead levels may also have problems with learning and reading, delayed growth and hearing loss. At high levels, lead can cause permanent brain damage and even death.”

The couple’s attorney and officials of Indiana Realty Partners did not immediately respond to calls from The Star seeking comment on the lawsuit.

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