ILNews

AG files state's first lead-paint hazard suit

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

In the first lawsuit of its kind in Indiana, the state attorney general's office is going after two Evansville landlords who it says have ignored warnings to correct a lead-paint environmental hazard in a rental house.

Joining the Vanderburgh County Health Department, the Indiana Attorney General's Office filed the suit today in State v. Mark R. Bryan and Tammy A. Bryan.

The Bryans own a 1918-built house on Mulberry Street in Evansville that they lease to tenants. During a lead-screening program for children in January 2008, one child of a tenant tested positive for elevated blood-lead levels. The Vanderburgh County Health Department alerted the tenant and also collected samples of paint, soil, and dust that tested positive for lead. Warnings were sent for two months, instructing the Bryans that the lead-based paint in the rental house was a health violation and required remediation measures, but no response or correction was ever made.

Lead paint has been banned for use in residential homes since 1978, and under the federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, owners must disclose any lead-paint hazards prior to selling or renting a home. The new suit seeks an injunction ordering the Bryans to immediately fix the issue, either by a licensed contractor removing the paint or by encapsulation of the lead-based paint by repainting it with latex paint.

The suit also seeks reimbursement of the government's costs, attorneys' fees, and any other legal costs.

While other states have pursued lead-paint public nuisance actions, this is the first time a suit has been filed in Indiana and the AG believes it could be used as a template for other Hoosier counties in the future.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

ADVERTISEMENT