Lead Poisoning Lawsuit Settled
Mother of two sued Birmingham Housing AuthorityMar 16, 2003 | Birmingham News
The Birmingham Housing Authority has settled a confidential lawsuit filed on behalf of a mother who claimed two of her children suffered lead poisoning while living in public housing.
LaShoun Williams, the children's mother, filed suit in Birmingham's federal court on behalf of Marcus and Shakila Williams in 2000. The suit said that Shakila became ill in May 1993, while Marcus' illness followed in 1994. Lab tests showed the children suffered from lead poisoning, according to the suit, which did not specify levels.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre found that the settlement, filed under seal, was in the children's best interest.
Kaye K. Houser, an attorney for the authority, declined comment but said: "We're happy that it's been settled."
Annesley H. DeGaris, an attorney for Williams, declined comment Friday, citing the settlement's confidentiality.
The suit contended Marcus and Shakila absorbed and ingested the lead at the authority's housing apartments while living there. The suit said that the children lived with Williams at the Tom Brown public housing community from September 1992 until June 1996; at the Tuxedo Court public housing community in Ensley from June 1996 until January 1998. They also lived in Cooper Green and Kimbrough Homes, the suit said.
In court filings, the housing authority contended that the children's elevated blood-lead levels were caused by their exposure to lead elsewhere. The authority said in filings that Williams and her children lived in private residences containing lead before and between staying in housing authority apartments. The authority's court papers said also that the children spent significant amounts of time in private home day cares that contain lead.
The suit contended that the housing authority was negligent because it failed to remove the poisonous lead and lead paint, allowed minor children to live in public housing, where they could be exposed to high levels of lead, and failed to warn about the dangers involved with the high lead content.
The suit said the children will continue to require medical care and treatment.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the most common cause of lead poisoning is from the lead paints that were used in the 1960s and earlier. Lead, a metal, also is in dust, soil, water, food and the air.