Lead poisoning remains hazardous to children because it impairs cognitions and behaviors due to biological and neurological damages. Although levels of lead have fallen considerably over time, traces exist in chemicals, such as paint or in industrial emissions (Foster, 2008). Public health and housing are interested in lead levels, given findings indicating a degree of neurological damage to children when they are exposed even to minimal traces of lead.
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Litigation on lead based poisoning is a fixture in areas such as Washington, District of Columbia, which have experienced aggressive lead poisoning in the past. The number of suits is rising as more children are diagnosed with lead poisoning and property owners remain unmoved to carry out inspections (Foster, 2008). The effects of lead poisoning introduced housing regulation, which define levels of lead that are habitable for families with children who are the most affected. The following paper discusses the problem of lead poisoning and the liability issues that attorneys and courts face every day.
Lawsuits targeting the recovery of damages associated with lead poisoning have increased over the past few years, as the government cracks down of inerrant property owners. Property owners are the main targets of the lawsuits after the federal government published procedures for removing lead from housing premises (Foster, 2008). Federal statutes such as the Housing Regulations 707.3 are disclosures that define the acceptable bounds of premises that may have lead poisoning. Verdict of cases that were passed earlier define practice today, as they have a bearing on how cases are handled.
For instance, the case of Tiffany Childs et al. versus Samuel B. Purl, Jr. et al. details the duties imposed on a property owner before they engage in renting of property. Housing regulations define the acceptable standards required from property owners, who wish to put up residential houses for tenants to rent. The Housing Regulation 707.3 also dictates what is unsafe for residential habitations (Foster, 2008).
Courts make a strong case for negligence where there is proof beyond doubt that a property owner violates the housing regulations. The regulations state that property owners should keep the interior surfaces of the premises lead free if there are children below the age of eight. In the case study, the quantity of lead in the premises constitute a health hazard, since the residents had two children, Tiffany Childs and Robbie Davis, who entered the premises at one and three years old respectively.
Courts agree that housing regulations are a shelter of the public from inerrant property owners. Property owners are more inclined to satisfy their own needs rather than those of the tenants. Courts impose a duty on all property owners to provide lead free environments (Kamisnky & Campbell, 2010). In the case, the company remains liable for lead poisoning charges whether they are aware of lead poisoning within the premises or not.
Property owners should take on the responsibility of caring for their tenants, who violate the standards of housing codes if they fail to do so. Under the current laws, proof that a property owner violates a statute is evident that he or she is negligent (Kamisnky & Campbell, 2010).
Although no law deters property owners from using prohibits lead paint in residences, it is required that property owners do away with lead hazards upon identification. The proof of knowledge that lead paint hazard exists in a building should be determined before an accuser is injured. This is the principle of constructive notice.
Constructive notice occurs where property owners are aware that their premises are in dangerous conditions but fail to fix the hazards or to warn prospective tenants. When property owners are aware of a danger, actual notices apply, while where they should be aware of dangers, the doctrine of constructive notice applies (Kamisnky & Campbell, 2010). Constructive notice applies to facts that are too obvious for one to remain unaware.
Property owners should be aware of the state of their properties because health hazards attract lawsuits. The duty of awareness allows property owners to fix dangerous conditions or provide warning signs where there is danger. This case holds for all property owners who invite publics into their property. Kamisnky and Campbell (2010) state that regular inspection of properties is necessary because previous owners may have created dangerous conditions that are unknown.
Therefore, property owners have to be on the lookout for such health hazards. For a liability case to proceed, constructive notice is proven using many approaches. Careful investigations often reveal that property owners were aware or should have known that a hazardous condition existed in their premises. The property owners did very little to gain knowledge of the steps required to fix the hazards.
The doctrine of constructive notice applies to Tiffany Childs et al. versus Samuel B. Purl, Jr. et al.’s case given the property owner’s failure to correct the lead paint hazard in the premises. The violation was not excusable because they allegedly demonstrated disregards for a law meant to protect the public. Where property owners fail to provide evidence that they tried everything in their power to promote safety of the tenants, the case is a clear violation of the housing regulations.
This is the case outlined in Tiffany Childs et al. versus Samuel B. Purl, Jr. et al. (Foster, 2008). Evidence affirms that property owners can walk free if plaintiffs fail to prove their knowledge of lead-bearing substances when leasing the property. Thus, constructive knowledge is important to prove that property owners had knowledge of the dangerous situations to base the case on negligence. Cases such as Garcia versus Jiminez were rules based on property owners having constructive knowledge about health hazards in their premises.
The case satisfies the constructive doctrine, since the housing regulations define the age groups that should be in the lead-poisoned houses. In similar cases, courts in Illinois have failed to institute a strict liability standard (Foster, 2008). However, other courts impose strict liability on landowners who fail to carry out inspections to determine that their premises are lead free. The Housing regulation guards against such arguments in their quest to make rental property habitable.
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Given the dangers associated with lead poisoning, and the significant suits that have risen to recover lead associated damages; each claim comes close to determining a case for liability. In Tiffany Childs et al. versus Samuel B. Purl, Jr. et al., the courts closely examine the case and finds that the property owner is liable for violating the housing regulations and exposing the children to lead. The liability is partly associated with the property owner’s knowledge that he should have conducted investigations to ascertain the condition of the house before leaving it to the plaintiffs. The case shapes future cases that seek to find negligence of property owners in providing lead-free environments.
Foster, S. (2008). The Law of Environmental Justice: Theories and Procedures to Address Disproportionate Risks. Chicago, US: American Bar Association.
Kamisnky, A., & Campbell, K. (2010). The Lawyer’s Guide to Lead Paint, Asbestos, and Chinese Drywall. Chicago, US: American Bar Association.