Boy poisoned by apartment's lead-based paint, suit alleged
|Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance, Premises Liability - Dangerous Condition, Toxic Torts - Lead Poisoning, Premises Liability - Apartment, Premises Liability - Tenant's Injury|
|Admer Llivisupa, an Infant Under the Age of Seven (7) Years by His m/n/g, Francisca Flores and Francisca Flores, Individually v. 610 West 157 Street Owner LLC, Vantage Properties, LLC, and Vantage Management Services, LLC, No. 111415/10|
|New York Supreme, NY|
- Robert Vilensky; Ronemus & Vilensky; New York, NY, for Admer Llivisupa
- Marcia Knight Ph.D.; Neuropsychology; New York, NY called by: Robert Vilensky
- Daniel Adler M.D; Pediatric Neurology; Ridgewood, NJ called by: Robert Vilensky
- Allan I. Young; Porzio Bromberg & Newman P.C.; New York, NY, for Vantage Management Services, LLC, Vantage Properties, LLC, 610 West 157 Street Owner LLC
- David Masur Ph.D.; Neuropsychology; Bronx, NY called by: Allan Young
- Steven Wolf M.D.; Pediatric Neurology; New York, NY called by: Allan Young
- Indian Harbor Insurance Co. for all defendants
On March 11, 2007, plaintiff Admer Llivisupa was born. During the ensuing 13 months, the child was a resident of his parents' apartment, which was located at 614 W. 157th St., in Manhattan.
On April 10, 2008, a test revealed that Admer's blood contained toxic levels of lead. The lead's concentration measured 25 micrograms per deciliter. Such a concentration is significantly greater than the generally accepted toxicity threshold of 10 mcg/dL.
Admer's parents' apartment was inspected by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, whose inspectors found 27 violations that involved lead-based paint. Admer's mother, Francisca Flores, claimed that Admer was poisoned by his exposure to the lead-based paint.
Flores, acting individually and as Admer's parent and natural guardian, sued the premises' owner, 610 West 157 Street Owner LLC, and the premises' managers: Vantage Management Services, LLC and Vantage Properties, LLC. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants were negligent in their maintenance of the premises. The plaintiffs further alleged that the defendants' negligence created a dangerous condition that poisoned Admer.
Plaintiffs' counsel discovered that the plaintiffs' residence was constructed prior to 1960. He contended that the defendants violated New York City Local Law 1, which addresses dwellings that were constructed prior to 1960. The law specifies that any such building's landlord must presume that the building's paint contains lead. The law further specifies that any such peeling paint must be removed from any area that is inhabited by children that have not reached age 7.
Defense counsel contended that the plaintiffs were not legal residents of the defendants' premises. He claimed that their residency was a subletting arrangement that had not been disclosed to the defendants. He contended that the defendants could not be liable for residents who were not lawful tenants, and he also contended that the defendants did not know that a child inhabited Flores' apartment.
On April 10, 2008, a test revealed that Admer's blood contained toxic levels of lead. The lead's concentration measured 25 mcg/dL. Admer's pediatrician prescribed a change of diet. After 11 days had passed, a doctor retested Admer's blood, and the test revealed that the lead's concentration had decreased to 4 mcg/dL. All subsequent tests produced similarly benign results.
In 2009, a psychologist opined that Admer's speech and vocabulary were greatly limited. The deficits persisted during the ensuing two years. In March 2011, a doctor estimated that Admer's vocabulary comprised a mere 25 words. The child's IQ is near the range of being defective. Plaintiffs' counsel claimed that Admer's impairment is a result of damage of his brain, and he contended that the damage stemmed from the child's exposure to lead-based paint that was present in the defendants' premises.
Admer's mother sought recovery of damages for Admer's past and future pain and suffering. She also presented a derivative claim.
Defense counsel challenged the integrity of the test that suggested that Admer's blood contained a toxic amount of lead. He contended that the sampled blood was stored in a vial whose chemical composition may have included lead. He claimed that the subsequent tests utilized vials whose chemical composition did not include lead.
Defense counsel also contended that Admer's impairment was overstated and a result of his upbringing.
The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement, which was finalized via the guidance of mediator Allen Hurkin-Torres, of Jams. The defendants' insurer agreed to pay $250,000. The money was invested in a fund that will provide structured payments.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs' and defense counsel.