Must-knows before suing over lead dust

Rent it Right

Q: After one of our children received a routine pediatric exam, we learned to our horror that the level of lead in her blood is dangerously high. We think that the cause is lead dust from our former rented home (we recently moved to our own new house). We also think that the owner knew about the problem but did nothing about it and never told us.

Since our move, the owner lost the home to foreclosure, so it’s now owned by the bank. If we file a lawsuit over our child’s injury, whom do we sue: the former owner or the current owner? –Tim G.

A: You’re doubtless hoping that you can sue the current owner, the bank, because it’s clearly in a better position to pay a settlement or judgment, if you prevail in a lawsuit, than the defaulting prior owner. And on some level, it seems appropriate to sue the bank, because the bank owns the property that injured your child. But I don’t think you’ll be able to do that.