There seems to be a trait associated with the Multi-Line Text list column type in that it floats the <p> element containing the text in the middle of the cell. Why this is, I know not. I do know that most people like their table values generally vertical-aligned to the top of the cells they reside in.
The vertical alignment not being butted up to the top is a symptom of the out-of-the-box SP 2010 Multi-Line data value class. I corrected it by applying the following CSS class to my custom branding:
All your Multi-Line list column values should now appear with the <p> element wrapping them aligned to the top of their table cell.