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Lead Settlements 1999 - 2000



Lead Settlement Review 1999-2000

Charlie Kingdollar

Listed below are some of the significant awards and settlements which have resulted from lead poisoning litigation. Included are awards and settlements of $1 million or more, smaller awards and settlements in states where lead poisoning litigation has begun to surface, as well as litigation involving somewhat unconventional circumstances (e.g. adult plaintiffs or potentially unforeseen defendants).

According to reports by several law firms, settlements of lead poisoning cases nationwide are averaging $500,000 per child.

In October, 1999, Mealey's Litigation Report: Lead updated its review of verdicts in lead-poisoning cases taking place since September 1990. The breakdown of these verdicts, involving 153 cases, is as follows:

$0 - $50,000 = 42% of verdicts
$50,001 - $500,000 = 33% of verdicts
$500,001 and up = 25% of verdicts

Keep in mind, that in this report, Mealeys did not include defense costs, or any interest or multiple damages assigned and as such the amounts shown may somewhat underestimate the total costs. These figures also do not include any out of court settlements. The average award in these cases was $755,383. Should interest and multiple damage amounts been included, there would be some shift in distribution towards the higher awards.

Mealeys' report also looks at 79 out of court settlements occurring in 6 states (the overwhelming majority - 57 - in New York). The breakdown of these settlements is as follows:

$0 - $50,000 = 16% of out of court settlements
$50,001 - $500,000 = 68% of out of court settlements
$500,001 and up = 15% of out of court settlements


The December 1997, edition of Lead Poisoning Report Regulation, Litigation & Liability, published by IAQ Publications, states that "several legal experts and publications report that both the number of lead poisoning lawsuits as well as the monetary awards granted by juries and judges continued to increase. While multi-million dollar awards were the exception only a few years ago, they were commonplace in 1997."

The by state breakdown of large settlements and verdicts that we have found follows. All of the awards and settlements shown are awards for a single child where the defendant was the landlord unless otherwise specified.


New York - has law requiring testing of all children up to age 10. Court has allowed limits stacking.

$49.5 million (defendants were City of NY and 2 property management firms)
$11.0 million (later settled for $1.5 million)
$10.0 million (reduced to $4.4 M on appeal)
$9.0 million (2 siblings, one awarded $6 million, one $3 million)
$9.0 million (later settled for $2 million)
$7.8 million (reduced to $2.25M on appeal)
$7.5 million (2 siblings one awarded $6 million, one $1.5 million)
$6.6 million (14 year old plaintiff exposed to lead paint dust when 3 years old - New York City Housing Authority is the landlord/defendant)
$6.0 million (settlement)
$5.36 million (award to a 13 yr. old exposed from birth to age 4 - defendant was a property management company. Award reduced on appeal to $3.5 million)
$3.85 million (landlord was the City of New York)
$3.67 million (2 siblings $2 million and $1.67 million - default judgement)
$3.0+ million (settlement - 3 siblings, over $1M each)
$3.0 million (settlement - 2 siblings, $1.75M and $1.25M)
$2.7 million
$2.5 million
$2.5 million (settlement)
$2.4 million (settlement - 4 children)
$2.2 million
$2.0+ million
$2.0 million
$2.0 million
$1.8 million (County of Albany liable for one third for failing to supervise abatement)
$1.7 million (settlement - 5 children - City of NY was defendant)
$1.66 million
$1.5 million (settlement)
$1.5 million (settlement - 19 year old plaintiff exposed 17 years earlier)
$1.5 million (structured settlement guaranteeing $3.6M - 2 siblings)
$1.45 million (settlement)
$1.4 million
$1.4 million (settlement)
$1.3 million ($1 million for child and $300,000 for mother. Award reduced to $555,000 on appeal)
$1.1 million
$1.1 million (settlement)
$1.1 million
$1.07 million (settlement - $800,000 damages plus $266,667 in attorney fees)
$1.04 million (settlement with a 24 year old alleging childhood exposure)
$1.0 million
$1.0 million (reduced to $275,000 by appellate court)
$1.0 million (pre-trial settlement of full policy limits)
$1.0 million (settlement - 2 landlords to pay $900,000 & $100,000 to be paid by a painting contractor)
$925,000
$915,000 (settlement - 10 year old plaintiff was enrolled in program for gifted students)
$912,500 (settlement)
$900,000 (limits of three consecutive policies stacked - awarded to three children)
$850,000 (settlement with landlord and co-op board)
$825,000 (structured settlement guaranteeing $1.85M).
$775,000 (settlement)
$750,000 (settlement)
$750,000 (settlement)
$717,000
$500,000 (16 year old plaintiff exposed when 5 yrs old)


Massachusetts. - Court has allowed stacking of limits on HO's policies - state law mandates strict liability for lead poisoning.

$ 7.7 million ( 20 year old plaintiff - exposed as infant)
$5.7 million (3 landlords each to pay $1.9 million to one child - reduced to $1.95M on appeal)
$2.6 million (settlement before appeal for $500,000 insurance limits)
$2.2 million (3 siblings)
$2.2 million (reversed by Supreme Judicial Court)
$2.0 million (against property manager)
$2.0 million (settlement)
$1.7 million (2 siblings - $1.2M & 520,830)
$1.65 million (against Home Inspector)
$1.4 million (settlement)
$1.3 million (settlement)
$1.25 million
$1.2 million (plus 12% interest for prior 3 yrs = total $1.7M)
$1.5 million
$1.1 million (settlement)
$1.0 million (settlement)
$999,000 (2 children)
$800,000 (structured settlement guaranteeing $3.7M)
$730,000 (structured settlement guaranteeing $1.5M)
$350,000 (settlement - 17 year old plaintiff alleging childhood exposure)
$300,000 (child with congenital learning defects - condition was exacerbated by exposure to lead)


California

$2.3 million (settlement against ceramic manufacturers)
$1.2 million (settlement landlord agreed to pay $1M into a fund for medical monitoring of children living in his buildings plus $200,000 for medical costs)
$150,000
$142,000 (settlement against sandblasting contractor for fear of lead poisoning - children did not have elevated blood lead levels)
$102,841 (binding arbitration)


Connecticut - allowed parent's consortium claim for lead poisoned child

$ 1.1 million
$928,600 (2 siblings)


Florida

$750,000 (Professional female potter sued several companies that manufactured lead-containing pottery glaze alleging that exposure injured her fetus)


Illinois - Court has allowed a private cause of action for lead poisoning.

$1.75 million (7 siblings)
$1.15 million (2 siblings)
$847,324
$400,000 (settlement)
$285,000 (settlement)
$180,000 (settlement)
$175,000
$140,000 (settlement)


Louisiana

$370,000 (settlement after $350,000 award)
Housing Authority of New Orleans has paid 70 $10,000 deductibles to settle its portion of lead poisoning litigation. Insurers are paying the remainder of the settlements. Amounts are sealed.


Maryland

$8.0 million
$3.0 million (2 siblings exposed 9 years before awards of $1.8 million & $1.2 million)
$1.7 million (vacated after judge discovered that jurors read an article about lead poisoning during the trial)
$1.5 million
$1.5 million
$1.45 million
$1.0 million (jury award reduced to $350,000 under state's cap for noneconomic damages)
$986,000 (settlement)
$967,500 (4 siblings)
$650,000 (reduced by court to $200,000)
$520,000 (Plaintiff was an 18 yr old exposed as an infant)
$518,444 (2 siblings)
$500,000 (jury award reduced to $350,000 under state's cap for non-econmic damages. Plaintiff was a 14 yr old honor student exposed as a younger child)
$460,000
$385,000 (2 siblings)
$375,000 (incl. $50,000 for plaintiffs mother)
$350,000
$300,000 (25 year old plaintiff exposed as infant)
$240,000
$225,000


Missouri

$385,000 (settlement)


Minnesota

$1.42 million (not counting settlements with 3 other defendants)

New Hampshire

$1 million (settlement)


New Jersey

$195,000 (structured settlement guaranteeing $950,000)
$152,000
$147,000
$140,000

Ohio

$318,000
$246,000

Oregon
$290,000 (landlord to pay $205,000, Housing Authority which inspected dwelling for suitability for federal assistance to pay $85,000).

Pennsylvania

$13.4 million settlement for 80 employees - umbrella policies paid - $4.2 from CNA, remainder from Lloyds.
$1.47 million (settlement of a class action against Pittsburgh Housing Authority)
$800,000
$695,000
$615,000 (settlement)
$400,000 (settlement)
$275,000 (settlement)
$250,000 (housing authority was the landlord)
$200,000 (settlement)
$180,000 (settlement)
$167,000 (2 siblings)


South Carolina

$2,150,000 (2 sub-contractors awarded $1.075 million each 9 yrs after exposure)

Texas

$990,000 (settlement - radiator repair worker sued manufacturer of lead solder for strict liability and failure to warn).

Vermont

$100,000 (settlement)

Virginia

$900,000 (settlement - child injured by lead brought home on mother's close worn to work)
$575,000 (settlement)
$250,000 (settlement)


Washington DC

$2.7 million (2 siblings)
$1.65 million (12 year old plaintiff exposed as a 3 year old)
$825,000 (structured settlement guaranteeing over $1.5 million)
$550,000 (structured settlement guaranteeing $3.7M)
$500,000 (structured settlement guaranteeing minimum of $1 million)
$500,000 (settlement against plumber)
$330,500 (structured settlement guaranteeing $1.1 million - 2 siblings)


Wisconsin

$1.5 million (settlement)

Other items of interest:

Med Mal awards - failure to test children's blood lead levels

$275,000 - Mass.
$250,000 - Maryland

Lead smelting - Idaho

$23 million (1983 - 33 children, 4 adults - payment over 30 yrs)
$6.5 " (1981 - 6 children)
$3.0 " (1981 - 3 children)

Lead smelting - Washington

$67.5 million (settlement 1997)


International

$375,000 (Australia - ironworker sued the bridge operator)

Legal Disclaimer: The information we have provided is offered as general information and should not be relied upon as advice, representation or counsel. Legal conclusions will vary depending on applicable local and national laws, individual policy terms and conditions and exclusions. This analysis is separate from and does not affect any positions we may take or have taken on any claims, past or future, under any reinsurance or insurance agreement or other contract. You should consult with appropriate professionals, including your own legal counsel, before relying upon any information we provide.


 
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