KramersLaw.com

Personal injury and insurance law attorneys share their expertise in Maryland accident lawsuits, trial litigation and other legal news.
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With General Assembly Inaction, Pit Bulls Remain “Inherently Dangerous”

The Maryland General Assembly concluded its recent regular session without action on legislation to modify the Court of Appeals’ decision in Tracey v. Solesky holding that pit bulls are “inherently dangerous.”

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Yogi Berra: A Legal Authority

“I really didn’t say everything I said.” – Yogi Berra.  While such may be true, what this poet/philosopher of the baseball diamond did say is quoted widely by courts nationwide.

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The Right to Trial by Jury in Maryland in a Civil Case: Plaintiff’s Call

Maryland’s intermediate appellate court has confirmed that the amount claimed by a plaintiff is what triggers the right to a civil trial by jury, not the amount claimed by a defendant asserting a counterclaim

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Civil Liability of Disgraced Day Care Workers

Two day care workers recently pleaded guilty to criminal charges after forcing two of their toddler-aged students to engage in a fistfight.  Could they be held civilly liable for their actions?

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The Limited Duty of Informed Consent

Earlier this month, a federal trial judge ruled that a hospital and surgery center could not be held liable for a surgeon’s alleged failure to obtain a patient’s informed consent prior to surgery.

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Christmas Roads Are Dangerous -- Put Your Little One in a Child Safety Seat

In the U.S., auto accidents are the number one killer of children aged 1 to 12.  To keep your child safe during your holiday highway trips, place each one in a child safety seat.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010 crash data indicates that an average of nearly 2 children (age 12 and younger in a passenger vehicle) were killed and 325 were injured each day.   NHTSA reports that this fatality rate could be reduced by about half if the correct child safety seat were always used.

Recognizing that the best way to protect children from auto accidents is to put them in child safety seats, Maryland law generally requires each person transporting a child under 8 years of age in a motor vehicle to secure the child in a child safety seat.  Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 22-412.2(d).  Any person convicted of violating this section is subject to a $25 fine.

Protect your child.  Get the right car safety seat for your youngster and use it.  If you need more information about finding the right child safety seat, installing the seat, or securing your child in the seat, go to http://www.safercar.gov/parents/carseats.htm

 

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Is a Skateboarder a Pedestrian or a Driver?

In Maryland, the answer to this question begins with another question: Is the skateboard a vehicle?

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Upon Further Review: A Penalty on Maryland Sports, or Reasonable Compensation?

Debates over University of Maryland’s controversial decision to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten were inflamed once news spread that UMD is now contractually obligated to pay a $52 million “exit fee” to the ACC.  But is it?

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Punishing an Employer for the Acts of a Dishonest Employee

May punitive damages be entered against an employer whose employee engaged in dishonest acts?  In the view of the Maryland Court of Appeals, if the employee acted within the scope of his employment when he did so, the answer is – Yes.

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Winning Only Half The Battle: Liability Without Damages

In a lead paint trial earlier this month, a Baltimore City jury found a defendant landlord negligent, but declined to award damages to the plaintiffs. 

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A Crash Course in Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration describes distracted driving as a “dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways.”  Combating this epidemic are a group of Howard County high school students.

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CAUTION: Student Driver | CAUTION: Careless Driving Instructor

While with his driving instructor, a student driver is involved in an auto accident.  May the driving instructor be responsible?  In Maryland, the answer is found in the 1970 decision of Greenway v. Graft.

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Buckle Up for Your Turkey Trot

Happy Thanksgiving!  And if you are traveling on the highway this holiday, be sure to buckle up.

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Sovereign Immunity Rides DC Metro

While you might expect the phrase “sovereign immunity” to live in the palaces of kings and queens, you may be surprised to learn that this ancient royal doctrine also rides DC Metro.


Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine which precludes suit against the government without its consent.  Based upon the ancient rule that the king can do no wrong, the doctrine bars suit against the State for the torts of its officers or employees unless such immunity has been waived expressly by statute or by necessary inference from legislative enactment.

As discussed in greater detail in Joseph G. Cleaver’s October 30, 2012 post (http://kramerslaw.com/blog/), the Maryland Court of Appeals recently applied this doctrine to two separate cases where women slipped, fell and were injured on wet floors at Metrorail stations.  The Court held that plaintiffs were precluded from asserting their tort claims against WMATA because the Interstate Compact governing the Agency granted immunity to governmental functions.  Because the floor cleaning decisions of WMATA employees implicated governmental functions, the Court ruled that the WMATA was immune from these suits.

While sovereign immunity still lives and rides in DC and Maryland, that immunity is often limited.  If you are injured as a result of the actions of a government agency or employee in DC or Maryland, consult an attorney to discover the rights and limitations existing under the law that affect your ability to obtain recovery.

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No Recourse for Subway Slip and Falls

The Maryland Court of Appeals holds that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is entitled to immunity from tort claims arising out of its maintenance decisions.

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A Full and Final Release of (Almost) All Claims

According to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, an injured party’s execution of a Release of all claims may not bar a subsequent claim for underinsured motorist benefits against her own insurance company.

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4th Circuit Strictly Applies Federal Tort Claims Act

If the need for firm compliance with the Federal Tort Claims Act was ever in doubt, a recent opinion from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals illustrates how fatal non-compliance can be.

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Assumption of the Risk and Contributory Negligence: Separate and Distinct Defenses in Personal Injury Actions

Where evidence exists to generate both defenses, a jury must have the opportunity on a verdict sheet to consider these separate and distinct defenses.

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Applying Maryland’s Cap on Non-Economic Damages in Survival and Wrongful Death Actions

Last month, the Court of Special Appeals rejected a tortfeasor’s argument that damages awarded in a survival action and in a wrongful death action should be aggregated before Maryland’s non-economic damages cap is applied.

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After 165 Years, 1% May No Longer Bar Claim

Presently, Maryland is one of only five “contributory negligence” states, meaning that in a negligence action, a plaintiff who was in any way negligent is barred from recovery, even when the plaintiff was only “1% negligent.”  That may soon change.

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