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Lead Paint Poisoning
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Family Wins $100,000 After Son Hurt By Lead Paint

gement Company Found To Be Negligent

Aug 8, 2003 | www.Channel Cincinnati.com

The dangers of a child being poisoned by lead paint are well documented, and what could be a landmark court decision was handed down Thursday in Cleveland.

A Cleveland mother said her son will never be the same after he became a victim of lead paint.

"It has been tough on my family," Lanisha Walker said. "I hope I never have to go through this again."

Walker and her attorneys won a battle in a Cuyahoga County courtroom Thursday after she was awarded $100,000 from Barnett Management Co. But she knows it will never allow her 9-year-old son, Antwon, to recover from his injuries. Barnett at one time ran the apartment building where Walker's family lived and allegedly failed to take care of the lead paint there. Walker said the paint poisoned her son and caused permanent brain damage.

"The main thing is his behavioral problems," she said. "He needs special education, eight kids to a classroom."

But the case in Judge Nancy Russo's courtroom is just the beginning. Antwon wasn't the only one affected; there are more than 30 other lead-poisoning cases pending in Cuyahoga County alone and 1,000 more set for trial across the country.

Thursday's decision sent a message to delinquent landlords.

"It tells them to get on the ball," attorney Mike Gruenloh said. "The Department of Health has been telling them to clean this up."

But attorneys for Barnett Management Co. didn't consider the $100,000 judgment a victory for Walker, especially since she was seeking more than $1 million in damages.

Still, though, Walker said she is pleased for Antwon and hopes that this case may help others from suffering the same way.

"Maybe this is the first step in cleaning up other houses and landlords (changing) everything," she said.

While Walker was pleased with Thursday's verdict, her attorneys plan to appeal, looking for more than just $100,000 in damages.


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