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Environmentby Fern Shen10:33 amMay 11, 20230

Woodberry residents sue TV tower owner over lead paint flake release

Class action lawsuit says three Baltimore TV stations were negligent for letting an unlicensed contractor hydroblast the “candelabra” tower without containing the dislodged paint.

Above: Paint chip in the grass at the children’s playground on Rockrose Avenue. (Fern Shen)

Following last year’s paint removal project that sent lead paint flakes raining down from the TV Hill transmission tower, a group of North Baltimore residents has filed a class action lawsuit against the television stations that own the tower and the Nebraska company they hired to do the work.

Skyline Tower Painting’s “hydro-blasting” of paint from the distinctive red tower in May and June of 2022, they say, did not follow proper procedures that would have contained the toxic residue.

The suit argues that the tower owners, Television Tower, Inc., were aware of the health-harming nature of the paint and should have taken precautions to prevent it from contaminating the properties below.

“Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin that is poisonous, especially to children,” their attorney, William “Billy” Murphy, said in an emailed statement.

“That the TV Tower owners knew it contained lead paint yet hired a unaccredited contractor to power blast that paint off hundreds of feet in the air over folks’ homes is unconscionable,” Murphy said. “The defendants in this case should have known better.”

The lawsuit, filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court, seeks to represent all property owners within a 4,000-foot radius of the broadcasting tower, located at 3723 Malden Avenue.

From left, Rich Richardson, Andrew O'Connell and Billy Murphy, of Murphy, Falcon, Murphy) and plaintiff Christine Sajecki, of Woodberry. (Handout photo)

From left, Ron Richardson, Andrew O’Connell attorney Billy Murphy and Woodberry resident Christine Sajecki stand in front of the Rockrose Playground where paint chips were found. (Handout photo)

Reduced Property Values

The plaintiffs seeking compensatory damages and other relief from TTI and Skyline are five Woodbury property owners: Myriam and John Ralston, Hannah Roher and Benjamin Roberts, Joshua Tohn and Maria Hagen, Elizabeth Goldberg, and Christine Sajecki.

They argue negligence by TTI and Skyline resulted in “significant reduction of their property values.”

“Plaintiffs are required by law to disclose to potential buyers the fact that their homes and community sustained lead paint and dust contamination on multiple occasions,” the lawsuit notes.

The class action suit comes on the heels of the civil suit filed last week against TTI and its contractor by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

Requests for comment from Skyline and TTI (an LLC formed by WJZ-TV, WBAL-TV and WMAR-TV) have not received a response.

The stations have set up a website about the tower and the painting project, which can be found here.

Previous Brew Coverage:

• Residents in Woodberry alarmed after paint flakes from TV tower rain down on yards and streets (6/21/22)

MDE finds lead in the paint chips that have fallen from TV tower in Woodberry (6/22/22)

A story three Baltimore TV stations aren’t reporting: Lead paint chips falling from their broadcast tower (8/5/22)

Residents balk as MDE and TTI suggest bringing back the company that sent lead paint flakes onto Woodberry (8/10/22)

MDE sues TV stations and contractor over lead paint flakes that fell from TV Hill (5/5/23)

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