HABC Makes Payment in Largest Lead Paint Claim
Successfully Pursues Bankrupt Insurance Company to Pay Lead Claim
(Baltimore, MD – August 6, 2012) The Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) has made the largest payment to date toward a lead paint case in the amount of $3.675 million. The funding to pay for the judgment came after HABC successfully pursued an insurance claim for this case. HABC had a general liability insurance policy with Integrity Insurance Company from 1981 through 1985, which covered lead paint claims for occurrences during those years. In 1987, a New Jersey court declared Integrity Insurance insolvent. For several years, HABC aggressively pursued a claim against Integrity Insurance to honor its policy coverage. This case represents the largest judgment facing the federally-funded agency; however, the payment did not require the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approval as it involved no federal funds.
“This has been a long hard road to say the least and we are glad to find some level of resolution for what this plaintiff has suffered,” said Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano. “HABC will continue to work hard to resolve lead paint judgments in a fair and responsible way while protecting public funds needed for the thousands of vulnerable low income housing families.”
To date HABC has paid nearly $4.6 million associated with four judgments. The agency is currently faced with eight unresolved judgments with two of those on appeal. It should be noted that while these cases were filed in recent years, they involve incidents that occurred prior to the implementation of Maryland’s lead law in 1996. HABC has been fully compliant with this law and is providing lead safe housing to all its families. In addition to trying to resolve these matters, HABC has the great responsibility of providing housing assistance for approximately 25,000 very low-income households throughout Baltimore City, while confronted with severe federal funding constraints and facing extensive unfunded requirements. HABC currently faces over $900 million in claims to date with an open-ended timeframe for additional claims to be filed.