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Monday, February 12, 2018

Mother Whose Daughter Was Poisoned From the Lead in Their Apartment Wins $57 Million Verdict

Dakota Taylor and her mother, Tiesha Jones

Dakota Taylor and her mother, Tiesha Jones

Bronx, NY — The New York City Housing Authority has been ordered to pay a mother $57 million after the jury found that NYCHA is the one responsible for her daughter’s alarmingly dangerous lead levels.

Dakota Taylor, a reserved, shy girl, finds it hard to learn in school. At 4 years old, her doctor diagnosed her with a serious case of lead poisoning.

Tiesha Jones, her mother, was beyond devastated about it. She recounted the days when her daughter learned to read at an early age but had developmental delays after a few years.

It was in the year 1999 when Jones moved into an apartment in Fort Independence public housing development in the Bronx.  In 2010, she was living there with her six children, including Dakota.

In January 2010, a pediatrician doing an annual checkup discovered that Dakota was sick. Her blood tests revealed a level of 45 micrograms per deciliter of lead in her blood. Anything over the level of 5 is lead poisoning.

Jones sued NYCHA. Fast forward to 2018, after eight years of legal fight, the Bronx jury decided in favor of the plaintiff. NYCHA has been ordered to pay $57 million due to their negligence to inspect the apartment for lead paint as required by the law.

However, Jones says she would rather have a healthy daughter instead of money from the lawsuit. “The damage had already been done. She didn’t have a chance to go to regular school… She got held over in special ed in second grade,” she said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio puts the blame on former Mayor Michael Bloomberg who was the mayor in 2010 when Dakota acquired the high levels of lead.

NYCHA spokeswoman Jasmine Blake said they are working on the settlement with Jones’ lawyers. “NYCHA is clearly disappointed with the jury’s verdict but looks forward to the final settlement of this matter upon terms agreed to by the plaintiffs,” she said.