Maryland attorneys attempt to seize housing authority property to fulfill lead paint judgment

January 4, 2012
By Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC on January 4, 2012 11:26 AM |

truck.jpgArmed with an unsatisfied $2.59 million judgment against the Housing Authority of Baltimore City for lead paint liability, which has since accumulated more than $300,000 in interest, attorneys for two Baltimore Plaintiffs have sought a writ of execution to seize and auction 21 vehicles owned by the Housing Authority to fulfill a portion of the judgment.

Our Annapolis Maryland Injury Attorneys have years of experience successfully representing Plaintiffs in product liability actions, many of which involve a manufacturer or distributor's failure to warn of a known danger.

Although the Housing Authority has appealed the judgment to the Court of Special Appeals, the Baltimore Housing Authority elected not to post an appeal bond. Ordinarily a party who appeals a Circuit Court judgment may post an appeal bond to effectively set aside funds if the party loses the appeal. Since the Housing Authority did not post a bond, the Housing Authority is presently required to pay the judgment.

Earlier last year, the Baltimore City Housing commissioner stated that the agency was unable to pay the judgment because it would have depleted the Authority's resources to provide services to residents.

In addition to the Housing Authority's inability to pay, the parties have also been unable to agree which property belongs to the federal government versus property that belongs solely to the Housing Authority. Much of the property of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City belongs to the federal government and would ordinarily be out of reach for Plaintiffs. The 21 vehicles that were "tagged" for auction by the Baltimore City Sheriff are exclusively owned by the Housing Authority. On this basis Plaintiff's counsel seeks to see the vehicles auctioned off, with the proceeds used to fulfill a portion of the amount owed.

The vehicles amount to 10 percent of the Authority's vehicle fleet, and they are used for resident services. These vehicles were eligible for seizure because they were not purchased with federal money.

In addition to the amount owed by these two plaintiffs, the authority owes an additional $11 million other plaintiffs to satisfy other judgments involving lead paint and mold.
It is uncertain whether these vehicles will actually be auctioned off or if counsel for the Plaintiffs and the Housing Authority will be able to resolve their differences. Nevertheless, this is an example of a creative way to seek payment of an unsatisfied judgment.

Update: The Court of Special Appeals overturned the trial court's verdict on January 19. So for now, the Housing Authority will keep its trucks.