Key Coverage

In One Corner of the Law, Minorities and Women Are Often Valued Less

The 4-year-old boy was mentally disabled, unable to speak in complete sentences and unable to play with other children because of his violent fits of hitting and biting.

The decision facing one Brooklyn jury last year was how much a landlord should pay in damages to the boy — named “G.M.M.” in court documents — after an investigation showed he had been living in an apartment illegally coated with lead paint. To determine that, the jury would have to decide how much more the boy would have earned over his lifetime without the injury.

Attorneys representing G.M.M. said $3.4 million was the right number, arguing that the boy would have had a bright career ahead of him; both of his parents had graduated from college and his mother received a master’s degree, according to the court documents. But the landlord’s defense put the figure at less than half that – $1.5 million. Attorney Roger Archibald noted that because the boy was Hispanic, G.M.M. was unlikely to attain the advanced education that would garner such a large income.