Two infants sued the past and present owners of the apartment in which their mother lived during her pregnancy and after their births. They sought compensatory and punitive damages for injuries allegedly caused by exposure to lead paint in the apartment. The original landlord sold the apartment about a month before the birth of the second infant, Amorie. The defendants moved to dismiss, and the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability. The trial court granted the original landlord’s motion as to Amorie, the infant born after the building was sold, and denied the plaintiff’s motion as to liability. Both parties appealed.
The appellate court held that the dismissal of the complaint as to the infant Amorie was improper. The infant’s expert opined that she had been subjected to lead toxicity in utero. There was an issue of fact as to whether the lead levels could be attributed to any exposure prior to the date that the original landlord sold the premises; Amorie’s mother was exposed to the lead paint for eight months before the landlord transferred ownership, and the dangers of exposure to lead while in utero are widely recognized by both state and federal case law. Thus, summary judgment dismissing the complaint was reversed.
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