A Brooklyn mother is seeking millions from the city after her toddler was poisoned while living in a lead-infested apartment, the latest charge that New York has failed to protect children from the toxin.
Natalia Rollins, a 25-year-old mother of two, informed the city this week of her intent to sue and filed a separate lawsuit in Brooklyn's Kings County Supreme Court against her landlord and property managers, filings show. The claims say her son Noah, 2, was exposed to lead paint in a hazardous Coney Island apartment.
In 2015, city agencies helped place the formerly homeless family in the privately owned apartment, telling you the dwelling was safe for your two children, Rollins contends. A city program covered much of the $ 1,515 monthly rent.
Rollins complained about the apartment's conditions, he said the full scope of the hazards , including toxic peeling paint around Noah's crib, it was not detected until after his September lead poisoning diagnosis, when the city health officials swooped in to document the unsafe conditions.
Rollins' claims, filed by her attorney, Reuven Frankel, come as the New York City Housing Authority, NYCHA, is under fire for failing to conduct required annual lead paint inspections in public housing complexes. The New York Post reported last month that lawsuits stemming from NYCHA's inspection failures could cost the city up to $ 100 million.
Though Rollins does not live in NYCHA housing, her suit alleges official neglect and improper enforcement of city lead inspection standards in a private apartment. Last month, to Reuters investigation featured the Rollins family and charted lingering risk areas around a city long known for its fight against lead poisoning.
The report showed that New York has not been policing provisions from a 2004 city code that requires landlords to annually inspect for and abate lead paint hazards in housing built before 1960.
When Reuters visited Rollins' rental unit last month, the place had peeling paint, cockroaches, buckling floors, a broken window and no heat. City records showed 163 open housing code violations.
City officials told Reuters they are trying to contact Rollins to help her find a new apartment. Meanwhile, the city's housing department, HPD, has completed the Brooklyn landlord nearly $ 15,000 and has stepped in to perform repairs and bill the landlord.
The 116-year-old building has been on the citywide list of the 200 "most distressed" multi-unit dwellings for years. Its landlord, Ervin Johnson, is currently ranked number 14 on a city list of the "100 Worst Landlords."
Johnson did not respond to a request for a comment, but the building's property manager said I have recently offered to move Rollins' family to another apartment and they declined.