Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Smith v. Rowhouses, Inc.

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

July 2, 2015

MYISHIA SMITH
v.
ROWHOUSES, INC.

Eyler, Deborah S., Meredith, Berger, JJ.

OPINION

EYLER, DEBORAH S., J.

In the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Myishia L. Smith, the appellant, sued Rowhouses, Inc. ("R.I."), the appellee, for negligence, alleging that she suffered injuries as a result of ingesting lead-based paint inside a property managed by R.I., in which she had lived in the early 1990's. The circuit court granted summary judgment on the basis of causation. On appeal, Smith asks whether that ruling was legally incorrect. For the reasons stated below, we shall reverse the judgment and remand the case to the circuit court for further proceedings.[1]

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

Smith was born on October 21, 1991. According to Smith's mother, Doris Plater, at the time of Smith's birth, they were living in Baltimore City, at 418 South Monroe Street (the "Monroe Street Property"). To Plater's observation, that property was in "good condition."

No later than the spring of 1992, Plater and Smith moved to 1622 East Oliver Street (the "Oliver Street Property").[2] About "three to four months" after they moved in, the paint "started chipping and peeling" on the "[w]indowsills, the banister and baseboards." Plater also saw dust on the floor. Plater frequently saw Smith putting her hands on these areas and then in her mouth. In the spring of 1993, Plater and Smith moved from the Oliver Street Property to 1508 North Collington Avenue (the "Collington Street Property").

While residing at these three properties, Plater took Smith to visit her grandmother at 2017 Ashland Avenue (the "Ashland Avenue Property") "[e]very week" for "[t]wo, three hours."[3] Plater never saw any chipping, flaking, or peeling paint at the Ashland Avenue Property.

As a young child, Smith was tested for lead, with the following relevant blood-lead level results:[4]

Date

Blood Lead Level

9/25/92

11 ì g/dL[5]

5/28/93

7 ì g/dL

9/21/93

15 ì g/dL

As noted, the Oliver Street Property was managed by R.I. at the time that Smith was living there. On October 24, 2011, Smith filed suit against R.I.[6] By then, the Oliver Street Property had been razed. There were no lead paint abatement notices for that property or any other documents showing whether or not there was lead-based paint in the property.

The parties engaged in discovery and identified expert witnesses. Smith named Robert K. Simon, Ph.D., as an expert in "toxicology, lead risk assessment and industrial hygiene." On October 11, 2013, he prepared a report stating that deed records "showed that the [Oliver Street Property] was built mostly [sic] likely in the early 1900s or before, " and that "[t]he age of this house would presume the presence of lead based paint." He opined "to a reasonable degree of scientific probability that [Smith] was . . . exposed to lead based paint hazards during her residence at" the Oliver Street Property.

Dr. Simon's deposition was taken on May 5, 2014. He testified that "in Maryland if your property is built before 1950, then COMAR 26.16 says you presume it contains lead-based paint unless you've tested it to prove it doesn't. . . ."[7] Defense counsel questioned Dr. Simon about the significance of this presumption to his opinions in this case:

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Doctor, you mentioned that you presume that a property contains lead-based paint or contains lead based on its age, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.