"Baltimore Lead Paint Victim Struggles for Justice"

"Justice has eluded Ronnell Doughty, perhaps even failed him.

Hospitalized as a toddler with serious lead poisoning, he's never learned to read well, dropped out of school and has a hard time controlling his temper — tragic but all-too-common outcomes of this urban health scourge.

But Doughty, now 21, has been repeatedly denied a shot at compensation for the lasting injury done him two decades ago. His family says in court papers that two lawyers mishandled the lawsuit on his behalf against the landlords of the East Baltimore rowhouse where he allegedly ingested toxic lead from flaking paint. Both lawyers were subsequently disbarred for other reasons, according to court records.

Now a new lawyer is trying against long legal odds to reopen his case, 14 years after it was thrown out without ever going to trial. Alan J. Mensh recently argued before a state appeals court that Doughty deserves his day in court because of fraud perpetrated by the family's second lawyer — they say he lied about the case's outcome — and because the judge and court personnel failed to act on indications that something was amiss."

Timothy B. Wheeler reports for the Baltimore Sun May 16, 2011.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011