Victims of lead poisoning targeted in Baltimore

Jess Barton, Staff Writer

BALTIMORE, MD—According to CBS News, lead poisoning victims from Baltimore are possibly being targeted to sign over their settlement funds. Crystal Linton, a thirty-one-year-old who has been exposed to lead since she was three, was awarded $630,000 after suing her two landlords. This settlement was put into a “structured settlement.” Linton would receive monthly payments for the next 40 years. She started receiving fliers in the mail that offered quick cash from companies like Stone Street Capital. The fliers said all she had to do was sign some papers and tell a judge why she needed the money. Linton sold her payment stream (valued at $408,00) over the next year and a half for $66,000. Stone Street Capital received most of the money.

Linton, who reads on a fourth grade level as a result of the irreversible brain damage from lead poisoning, felt like she did not understand how it worked or how she signed her money away. CBS reports that she was in special education for a few years as she had trouble reading, writing, and remembering. It’s impossible that she was able to read and understand the documents that were given to her,” Saul Kerpelman, the attorney that represented her family, said. “Literally impossible.”

Linton’s case is similar to what happened to two dozen other lead poisoning victims from Baltimore, who also sold their settlements to similar companies. Attorney Earl Nesbitt of the National Association of Settlement Purchasers represents some of those companies in court. Nesbitt said that it “should not have happened.” Linton says she took advantage of the fliers because she needed money to keep her house and car; however, she now says she has no money and may soon be homeless.