Maryland law generally allows victims of negligence to pursue compensation from those responsible. In some cases, however, remedies may be limited or damages capped. In an April 12, 2018 Maryland wrongful death case, the Court of Appeals considered whether a multi-million dollar jury verdict should be reduced, and which defendants should be responsible for the judgment.
The case arose out of the murder of a Maryland state prisoner by another prisoner while they were both in State custody. The parents of the victim brought suit against the State of Maryland and several of the correctional officers supervising the prisoners.
After a trial, the jury returned a verdict against the State based on its finding that certain correctional officers were negligent, and a verdict against one of the defendants who was found grossly negligent. In total, the jury awarded approximately $18.5 million in noneconomic damages to the plaintiffs. However, the trial court reduced the awards due to Maryland’s statutory caps, and it also denied the plaintiffs’ motion to include the State in the judgment against the one defendant found grossly negligent. These decisions were appealed and became the major issues in the Court of Appeals case.