A jury in the Bronx last week awarded Fort Independence public housing resident Tiesha Jones with $57 million after finding the New York City Housing Authority failed to perform required lead paint inspections in her apartment where her 4-year-old daughter acquired dangerous blood-lead levels.
In January 2010, Jones’s daughter Dakota Taylor’s blood returned levels of lead 9 times higher than what is deemed safe by medical professionals, exposure that can cause serious developmental delays. NYCHA records show the agency says it performed tests on the apartment in 2006 and 2008, but last year it was revealed that NYCHA and the city were aware that thousands of inspections that were reported to have been performed never actually were.
However, the $57 million verdict may not be the final word. NYCHA’s attorney told the New York Daily News that the figure was “totally a message” and that NYCHA expects to begin settlement negotiations, presumably with a smaller dollar amount for the cash-strapped agency, soon. [NYDN] — Will Parker