A former HomeWorks Property Group tenant is suing the company after her son was diagnosed with lead poisoning.
A property management group in Indiana recently came under fire in a lawsuit filed by a former tenant. According to the tenant, Selena Wiley, her “2-year-old was poisoned by lead paint.” The suit states “HomeWorks Property Group knew its properties had dangerous levels of lead and did nothing about it.”
Paint roller; image by Yoann Siloine on Unsplash; www.unsplash.com
The home where Wiley and her son resided was on the southside of South Bend. Unfortunately, Wiley claims her son was “poisoned so badly by lead paint that he has permanent brain damage and will never be the same.” She added, “I will never know what he would’ve been without the lead poisoning and that bothers me.” She noted that her son used to be a thriving, happy child working learning and exploring the world around him. Now, she said her son “barely moves and has trouble speaking.” She added:
“Not a day goes by where I don’t think about the effects of this lead poisoning to my baby…The difference in my baby and the future of my baby. I worry about that constantly.”
The suit was filed earlier this week and argues HomeWorks “knew the home they rented had dangerous levels of lead.” Wiley’s attorney, Stephen Blandin, said the lead was “discovered after maintenance crews chipped paint away to make a repair in an upstairs bedroom.” Shortly after, Wiley began to notice changes in her son. For starters, he was getting sick, so she took him to the doctor where he was tested for lead poisoning. The test discovered he had “roughly eight times the normal level of lead in his blood.” Blandin added:
“This took place at a property that was run by a very large real estate firm that knew better, should’ve educated the mom better and unfortunately they didn’t.”
Eventually, the property was investigated by the St. Joseph County Health Department. During the investigation, the agency “found deteriorated lead-based paint and said in a report, ‘the current condition of the home is a threat to public health.’”
When Wiley tried to move to a different property, also owned by Home Works, “that house tested positive for lead as well.” In the end, she left the state and now lives with family members. She filed the suit in an effort to warn others.
When commenting on the allegations in the suit, attorney Martin Gould said, “I think there’s certainly some indication that there are other homes that could’ve been hazardous.”
At the moment, the lawsuit is seeking monetary damages.
Local mother’s lawsuit claims lead paint gave son permanent brain damage
Poisoned by their homes: how the US is failing children exposed to lead