"Maryland's highest court struck down Monday a key provision of state law that shielded owners of older rental housing from civil lawsuits -- and potentially costly payments to victims -- if they took precautions to protect children in their units from lead-paint poisoning."
"In a 7-0 ruling, the Court of Appeals declared that the 1994 lead-poisoning law violated the state's Constitution by denying a day in court to victims of the once-widespread environmental health scourge. In doing so, the court struck down what was considered a historic legislative compromise.
The court retained the law's regulatory provisions, which require landlords to register and reduce the poisonous lead hazards in all rental units built before 1950, when lead-based paint was widely used in Baltimore and the rest of the state. But the appellate judges dismissed as 'drastically inadequate' the law's $17,000 cap on payments to victims of lead poisoning from landlords who comply with the law."