The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently reviewed a case involving a property owner’s liability for exposure to lead paint. In Christian v. Levitas (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Aug. 1, 2016), the plaintiff brought a negligence claim against the defendant after blood tests revealed elevated levels of lead while residing at the defendant’s property. The defendant filed a motion to exclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying as to medical causation and the source of lead exposure. The trial court granted the motion to exclude, as well as summary judgment against the plaintiff due to a lack of expert testimony as to causation.
In the plaintiff’s previous appeal, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals initially affirmed the ruling, finding that the plaintiff’s expert lacked experience administering IQ tests relevant to the mental injuries the plaintiff claimed to have suffered as a result of lead paint poisoning. However, the Maryland Court of Appeal vacated the judgment and remanded for reconsideration pursuant to its holding in Roy v. Dackman, 445 Md. 23 (2015). As a result, the matter was again in front of the Court of Special Appeals.
In Christian, the plaintiff had lived for nearly two years as a toddler on the defendant’s property, which contained chipping, peeling, and flaking paint. The plaintiff’s blood lead levels were also elevated when he was living at the property. The plaintiff’s expert testified that his medical injuries had been caused by exposure to the lead-based paint at the defendant’s property. His opinion that lead-based paint was present at that property was based on circumstantial evidence of the age of the home and the presence of lead paint on the exterior of the property.