ROCHESTER, NEW YORK – After three hours of deliberations last night in the Hall of Justice in downtown Rochester, a Monroe County Supreme Court jury returned the first verdict for a plaintiff in a lead poisoning case in Western New York history. The plaintiff, Ashley Hicks, age 23, was lead poisoned while residing in rental properties in Rochester between the ages of three and six years old. Ms. Hicks is currently enrolled at Monroe Community College, where she hopes to earn her Associate’s Degree, despite her acknowledged learning disability due to lead poisoning.
The jury returned its verdict in the amount of $221,000 at 9 pm on Wednesday. The verdict was rendered for Ashley’s future economic loss from the neurological effects that lead poisoning will have on her capacity for future earnings. The jury ruled that the sole defendant at trial, landlord Richard Franco, is responsible for paying the entire verdict. The trial was presided over by State Supreme Court Justice Matthew A. Rosenbaum, who is in charge of all lead poisoning cases pending in the Rochester Area.
Ashley Hicks is represented by the Buffalo law firm of Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC and attorney Dennis Herron and Associates of Rochester. Michael Ponterio, Neil McKinnon, and Keith Vona, of Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC appeared for the plaintiff at trial. Defendant Richard Franco was represented at trial by a team of three experienced trial lawyers from the New York City Area law firm of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker LLP. The jury’s verdict sends a strong message to professional landlords throughout Western New York about the importance of maintaining their rental properties in a safe and lead-free condition.
Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC, established in 1995, concentrates its practice in the areas of asbestos disease and lead poisoning litigation, medical malpractice, insurance liability, personal injury and workers’ compensation matters. The Firm has achieved thousands of settlements and numerous verdicts on behalf of its clients who were harmed by toxic substances. For more information, visit Lipsitz & Ponterio’s website at www.lipsitzponterio.com.