NEW ORLEANS, June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A notification program began today as ordered by the Civil District Court in and for the Parish of Orleans, Louisiana to alert people who lived, stayed, or visited at public housing in New Orleans before February 17, 2001, about proposed settlements in a long-running class action about children exposed to lead. Insurance companies for defendants in the case agreed to pay $65,520,174.19 to settle claims that HANO public housing developments were contaminated with lead and injured as many as 10,000 or more children. The settlements provide payments to those who qualify and pay the lawyers' fees and expenses and other settlement costs.
The lawsuit, known as Billieson v. City of New Orleans, et al, No. 94-19231, claimed that HANO's public housing developments contained lead, and that many children who were exposed to the lead developed learning, reading, growth, hearing, physical, cognitive, and behavioral problems, as well as permanent brain damage, and some possibly died. The defendants deny that they did anything wrong, and the settlements do not mean that they did.
The lawsuit includes a Class or group of people who, before February 17, 2001, were damaged by lead present in the Iberville, Florida, Lafitte, B.W. Cooper, St. Bernard, Desire, Guste, Fischer, St. Thomas, or C.J. Peete/Magnolia public housing units and either: (a) filed a lawsuit against HANO and/or C.J. Brown Property Management, Inc., C.J. Brown Public Housing, Inc. and/or Ventana Property Management, Inc., Ventana Public Housing Management, Inc. and/or the City of New Orleans saying that they were hurt from exposure to lead at one of the HANO public housing developments; or (b) have or can get medical documents or other evidence showing they were lead poisoned, specifically a document that shows they had an elevated blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter of whole blood, or higher, when they were six years old or younger and they were born on or after December 12, 1987.
Notices informing Class Members of their legal rights will be mailed, and are scheduled to appear in newspapers, and on television and radio in New Orleans, leading up to a Court hearing on December 21, 2011, when the Court will consider whether to approve the settlements, as well as the lawyers' requests for fees and expenses.
Those affected by the settlements must register to receive future notices and a Claim Form. Class Members may also object to the settlements and ask to speak at the Court hearing. The deadline is October 20, 2011 to register, object, or to ask to speak at the hearing.
A toll-free number, 1-888-768-2043, has been established along with a website, www.HanoLeadSettlements.com, where answers to common questions, a Registration Form, the Settlement Agreements, plus other information to help Class Members determine whether they are included and qualify. Written requests for more information may be sent to Billieson Notice Administrator, c/o/ Analytics, Inc., PO Box 2010, Chanhassen, MN 55317-2010.
SOURCE Civil District Court in and for the Parish of Orleans, Louisiana