Legal Aid Takes City To Task On Lead

Despite two city-ordered series of repairs, a child is still living at a west side apartment with lead-paint poisoning — the latest chapter in a decade-long saga that’s now the subject of a demand letter and an upcoming suit by legal aid lawyers.

Feature (Connecticut)

Christopher Peak
New Haven Independent
August 24, 2017

Tags: Lead Poisoning

Organizations mentioned/involved: New Haven Legal Assistance Association (CT)


An inspector from the Livable City Initiative (LCI), the city government agency charged with enforcing the rest of the housing code, toured the apartment the same day, pointing out problems that the landlord still needed to repair after repeated visits, like a wobbly toilet atop rotting wood and concrete dust under the kitchen sink. But the inspector noted new smoke detectors, a tighter fitting on a leaky pipe and freshly-mowed grass.

The spate of enforcement actions came in response to a demand letter sent to the city last Wednesday by two New Haven Legal Assistance Association attorneys. The letter, which documented “urgent fire, health, and safety concerns,” like toxic lead paint that’s poisoned two kids, said the situation fits a “pattern of failure” by the city to stay on top of code violations.

To resolve the matter, the two legal aid attorneys, Amy Marx and Shelley White, demanded in the letter sent that the city immediately eliminate the lead-paint hazards in the unit, temporarily relocate the family to a hotel and schedule a sit-down meeting to discuss “much needed systemic reform” to New Haven’s code enforcement.