Lead poisoning prompts parents to sue

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 3, 2005, 5:46am

The parents of a Belleville boy who allegedly suffers from lead poisoning filed suit against their former landlord, Clyde Blankenship, in St. Clair County Circuit Court Aug. 30.

Wilma and Herbert Barbour allege that from September 1989 through December 1993, they resided in a lead-contaminated Section 8 housing at 106 South 9th St., in Belleville.

“Blankenship, as landlord and owner, had a duty to provide and maintain the 9th Street property in a safe and sanitary condition for his tenants,” the complaint states.

The Barbours allege at all times during their lease there was lead-bearing substances in and about the property, including chipping, peeling and scaling of lead-based paint on the walls and surfaces, and lead-based dust on the floors and door jams.

“Blankenship knew or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known there were lead hazards on the 9th Street property, and should have known the lead hazards constituted an unreasonable risk to children under the age of six,” the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the Barbours' son, Patrick, ingested lead from chipping, peeling, cracking and deteriorating lead-based paint and dust which caused lead poisoning.

The Barbours claim Blankenship breached his duty of care and was negligent by failing to:

  • Inspect the 9th Street property, a home built before 1978, for lead hazards;
  • Test the 9th Street property for the presence of lead hazards;
  • Warn them of the dangers and presence of lead hazards in the 9th Street property; and
  • Exercise ordinary care in providing safe and sanitary housing to them.

    According to the Barbours, Patrick sustained severe and permanent injury to his brain and nervous system, sustained cognitive, behavioral, physical and adaptive skills injuries and impairments, pain and suffering and a permanent loss of earning capacity.

    “Patrick will not be able to live independently and will require adult residential care and rehabilitation services.”

    The Barbours are seeking a judgment in their favor in excess of $100,000, plus punitive damages to punish Blankenship and deter him and others from similar conduct, together with interest, costs and expenses of litigation and attorneys’ fees.

    The Barbours are represented by Thomas Kennedy and Deborah Greider of Alton and Roy Strawn of Edwardsville.

    05 L 560 (20th Circuit)

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