As we discussed on this blog in December, 10 cities and counties in California earned a surprise win in a public nuisance lawsuit against former lead paint manufacturers and their successor companies. Legal until 1978, lead paint is now known to be poisonous, especially to children. Yet 35 years later, innumerable older buildings in California, here in New York and across the nation still contain the hidden hazard. Lead paint abatement is mandatory in certain circumstances, but countless homes and apartments haven’t received it, risking the health of unknowing renters and homebuyers.
Public officials in New York City have noticed that pedestrian safety has become a major issue over the last year. Many drivers are failing to yield at crosswalks, which has put pedestrians at risk of serious or fatal injuries. Mayor De Blasio has suggested increased safety measures and reduced speed limits in areas heavily trafficked by pedestrians.
As you may know, a fireball erupted last week at the Beacon School, a prestigious public high school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It apparently happened when a chemistry teacher’s scientific demonstration went wrong, and the result was two students burned -- one critically.
Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported finding 147 meth labs, sets of glassware and chemicals, and byproduct-dump sites in New York -- a record high. That points to a growing problem: every meth lab leaves behind toxic chemical residue that could be harmful to later residents, or even neighbors. Unfortunately, renters and homebuyers in New York have no way of knowing whether their new home is a former meth lab.
In a surprising but welcome ruling, a California judge recently ruled that three lead paint companies are responsible for creating a public nuisance with their products, which were routinely used in homes before 1978. Ten cities and counties had sued Sherwin-Williams, NL Industries and ConAgra Grocery Products (as a successor company to W.P. Fuller & Co.) for the widespread lead paint hazards suffered by property owners across the state. They argued the manufacturers should be required to help clean it up, even though their product was legal at the time.
If you rent an apartment or house in New York that was built before 1978, your home may contain lead paint. While you shouldn’t dismiss other potential causes of lead poisoning, dust from lead paint is still the No. 1 source of lead poisoning in U.S. children.
Six former high school football players and two parents have filed a lawsuit against the football coach and the school superintendent and the Marlboro Central School District in of Marlboro, a small town near Poughkeepsie. The coach was hired in 2010 and indeed carried the Marlboro Iron Dukes to victory but, according to the former students, that success was at an appalling cost. They claim the coach ordered them to “intentionally and improperly injure” opposing players he targeted.
With Halloween only a couple of days away, take a moment to inspect the walkway leading up to your home or business and make sure it’s safe for trick-or-treaters. The last thing anyone wants is a painful or serious slip-and-fall accident to cast a pall on a happy holiday, and a few moments is all you should need to keep kids safe.