New York AG Settles Lead Paint Claim With Syracuse Landlord
Lead paint lawsuits remain a significant area of liability for landlords across the State of New York. Lead paint claims can arise from individual plaintiffs, class actions, and even the state. New York Attorney General Letitia James recently announced a settlement with a landlord in upstate New York who allegedly exposed residents, including a number of children, to lead paint toxins in violation of state law. The settlement includes a hefty monetary fine as well as an injunction preventing the defendant from owning or managing property across the entire state. The case represents a strong reminder of the importance of swift compliance in the face of complaints and government investigation. Continue reading to learn about the case, and call a knowledgeable New York toxic tort and lead paint and landlord defense attorney for advice and representation.
NY AG James Continues Lead Paint Offensive, Kicks Landlord Out of New York
The recent settlement involved claims against Syracuse landlord John Kiggins and his property management company, Endzone Properties. According to the Attorney General’s announcement, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that at least 18 children were poisoned by lead paint while residing in 17 of Endzone’s roughly 89 properties over a period of six years. The City of Syracuse and Onondaga County conducted their own investigations of Endzone properties and found that at least 32 exhibited chipping, peeling, deteriorating paint, and other conditions that give rise to lead poisoning.
The AG alleges that Endzone violated city, county, state, and federal laws, including by either eschewing federally required lead disclosures or by providing false disclosures to tenants and purchasers of Endzone properties. Following an investigation and subsequent enforcement action, the AG reached a settlement with Kiggins and Endzone.
The terms of the settlement are severe. Kiggins and Endzone must pay $215,000 into a fund meant to prevent the exposure of lead paint to children within the City of Syracuse or Onondaga county, as well as to aid the families affected by lead poisoning. On top of the monetary penalty, the individual and his company are permanently banned from owning or managing residential rental properties across the State of New York. Endzone’s properties had already been sold and/or transferred to new management by the time of the settlement.
The recent settlement comes on the heels of several enforcement actions targeting lead paint exposure. Over the last couple of years, AG James has brought and settled actions targeting several property management companies in New York City and Buffalo. The settlements have each resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties as well as injunctive relief mandating compliance, if not outright banning the landlords from maintaining properties in the state. The actions have specifically targeted childhood exposure to lead paint in low-income communities and communities of color.
For experienced and dedicated legal guidance on a New York lead paint, landlord defense, insurance coverage, toxic tort, or products liability claim, contact the Islip offices of Richard A. Fogel at 516-721-7161.