NYC landlord tries to reduce damages payment by saying Latino toddler wouldn’t go to college anyway
A federal judge rejected a Brooklyn landlord’s attempt to use a Latino child’s ethnicity to justify reducing his liability in a lead poisoning case, the New York Times reported.
Mark Kimpson’s attorney sought to reduce the $2 million awarded to the boy and his mother by a jury earlier this month, saying the child was less likely to attend college and earn a degree even if he had not been stricken by lead poisoning while living in the family’s Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment. Elevated levels of lead were found in his blood just after his first birthday.
The attorney, Roger V. Archibold, also argued that Kimpson had covered the apartment’s lead-based paint with a new coat of paint and drywall, only for it to be scratched off by the family’s dog. The boy’s “cognitive and behavioral difficulties,” Archibold said, were caused by other conditions his mother contracted during her pregnancy.
But Judge Jack B. Weinstein rejected the use of ethnicity as a determining factor in the case, saying that Archibold failed to identify factors specific to the boy. In this case, the judge wrote in a 52-page memo, the mother had obtained a Master’s degree in fine arts, while her husband had a bachelor’s degree. Moreover, the couple was stable and working while living in Kimpson’s building.
“Posed is the question, can statistics based on the ethnicity (in this case, ‘Hispanic’) of a child be relied upon to find a reduced likelihood of his obtaining higher education, resulting in reduced damages in a tort case?” Weinstein wrote. “The answer is no.”
While Weinstein has ruled that the matter of the child’s ethnicity in and of itself was a factor, Archibold told the Times the judge “mischaracterized” his argument, which was meant to counter testimony from the family’s attorney.
“The expert was confronted with the evidence of the study that he quoted,” he said. “He opined that the study gave him these statistics and it did not.”
Weinstein has filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
[h/t Addicting Info]