In Maryland, an individual may seek damages for personal injuries caused by another person by taking legal action.  In a December 4, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals reviewed a personal injury case arising out of an altercation between the security officer of a restaurant bar and one of its patrons.  The matter was brought to the court on appeal of the lower court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

The plaintiff in the case had been drinking at the restaurant bar with four of his friends.  After the plaintiff’s friends left the bar intoxicated, they began breaking glass bottles in the parking lot.  Three bouncers approached them, including the defendant, who was a state police trooper currently working a second job as a security officer of the restaurant.  At that moment, the plaintiff was forcibly removed from the bar by another bouncer.  The defendant approached the plaintiff and asked him to leave.  They began to argue, and the defendant executed a takedown maneuver that caused the plaintiff to hit his head on the pavement and fracture his temporal bone.

The plaintiff filed a suit against the restaurant, the property owners, and several other defendants, including the trooper.  He asserted multiple personal injury claims against the defendants for negligence and excessive force.  After the witnesses were deposed, the circuit court granted the defendants motions for summary judgment.  One of the issues on appeal was whether the circuit court properly concluded that the trooper’s force was not excessive.

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A Maryland medical malpractice claim requires an expert witness to testify in support of the plaintiff’s case.  Failure to secure an expert medical witness, or provide admissible expert testimony may result in a dismissal of the claim.  In a January 10, 2020 medical negligence case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reviewed whether the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert witness was excluded improperly by the circuit court.  That decision resulted in a dismissal of the plaintiff’s case, prompting her subsequent appeal.

The plaintiff in the case had received medical treatment from the defendant after suffering fractures to her pelvis and arm.  The plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to timely diagnose and treat an oral infection, which led to pain, an inability to eat, and weight loss.  To support her medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff presented an expert medical witness to testify.

After the deposition of the plaintiff’s expert witness, the defendant moved to exclude his testimony, arguing that he had failed to define the standard of care during his deposition.  The plaintiff sought leave of court to recall her expert and have him clarify his standard of care testimony.  The circuit court did not specifically address the plaintiff’s request, but ruled that the testimony would be excluded because he never specifically stated the standard of care.  The case was then dismissed, as he was the plaintiff’s sole expert witness.

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Maryland trip and fall accidents can cause severe injuries, particularly for elderly individuals.  In some instances, an injured person may be able to recover their damages in a personal injury suit.  In a January 3, 2020 negligence case, the plaintiff brought suit against the City of Baltimore after falling on a public sidewalk.  After the lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the City, the matter was appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The plaintiff in the case was injured as she was walking along a sidewalk and tripped and fell on an elevated portion of the sidewalk.  The plaintiff suffered serious personal injuries to her face and mouth as a result of the fall and incurred over $15,000 in medical expenses, including orthodontic surgery to repair damage to her teeth.  She was 80 years old at the time of the injury.

In her suit, the plaintiff alleged that the City negligently attempted to repair the sidewalk, and as a result, the sidewalk was uneven.  The City argued that the sidewalk defect was so slight, that it was non-actionable under the triviality doctrine.  The City also argued that the plaintiff failed to produce evidence that it had notice of the defect before the plaintiff’s accident.

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To survive a summary judgment motion, the plaintiff must show that there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury could find in her favor.  In a December 26, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals reviewed a personal injury claim against the City of Baltimore (City) to determine whether the lower court erred in granting summary judgment against the plaintiff.  The plaintiff in the case alleged that she was sitting on a public bench when it collapsed underneath her.  She filed a personal injury suit against the City, claiming that was injured as a result of its negligence in maintaining the bench.

To succeed on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove that the City was under a duty to protect her from injury; that the City breached that duty; that the plaintiff suffered actual injury or loss; and causation.  Because the plaintiff’s claims were based on premises liability, she must also prove that a dangerous condition existed, and that the City had constructive or actual knowledge of the risk of danger.

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the City was under a duty to inspect the bench, and by failing to do so, the City breached its duty to her.  To establish the element of duty, the plaintiff pointed to the website of the bench manufacturer, which recommended that the connections on the bench be checked and tightened at least every six months.  The appeals court held, however, that the manufacturer’s recommendations, alone, were not sufficient to establish that the City had a duty to inspect the bench regularly.  Further, it did not prove that failing to inspect the bench for loose bolts would constitute negligence.

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To file a medical malpractice claim in Maryland, a plaintiff must follow certain procedural rules and deadlines provided under the law.  In a November 27, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland addressed the consequences of failing to comply with these rules.  The plaintiff in the case had brought a medical malpractice claim against her doctor and the hospital following her cataract surgery, alleging that she suffered a loss of vision in her left eye.

To bring a medical negligence lawsuit under the Health Care Malpractice Claims Act, when the amount sought is more than $30,000, a plaintiff must first file a claim with the Director of the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office.  Within 90 days after filing a claim, the plaintiff must file a certificate of a qualified expert along with a report from that expert.  The certificate and report must attest to the defendant’s departure from the relevant standard of care, which proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury.

There are exceptions to the requirement that a certificate be filed within 90 days.  In general, an extension may be granted if the failure to file the certificate was not willful or a result of gross negligence, or for good cause shown by the plaintiff.

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In some personal injury cases, it can be difficult for the plaintiff to identify the facts leading up to the accident and explain exactly what caused the injury that he or she suffered.  In a recent Maryland slip and fall case, the plaintiff’s testimony did not directly implicate how the defendant was at fault for her injury.  However, the matter was decided her favor on appeal.

Upon entering a grocery store owned by the defendant, the plaintiff in the case asked a store employee where the rice was located.  The employee, who was re-stocking shelves in one of the aisles, pointed to an upper shelf.  A surveillance video captured the scene, showing that multiple boxes were lined along the right side of the aisle in which the employee and plaintiff were standing.  The video also showed that after the plaintiff got the rice from the top shelf, she turned around and appeared to trip over a stack of boxes.

The plaintiff brought a personal injury suit against the grocery store and the employee, alleging negligence.  The case went to trial, where the plaintiff testified that she fell after catching her foot on something, although she could not identify what it was.  At the close of the plaintiff’s case, the circuit court entered judgment in favor of the defendants, ruling that the plaintiff failed to present a prima facie case of negligence.  The plaintiff appealed the decision to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

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In general, a business may be held responsible for known dangerous conditions on its property that injure another person, if the business owed that person a duty of care.  In a Maryland premises liability case, the standard of care is determined by the status of the victim.  As a result, the question of whether the victim is an invitee, social guest, or trespasser may make a difference in the outcome of a negligence claim.  In a November 21, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered this issue as a matter of first impression, as it related to an eight-year-old child injured in the common area of a condominium complex.

At the time the injury occurred, the child and his younger brother were visiting their grandparents, who resided in one of the condo units.  While playing in a common area of the complex, the children climbed atop of a community sign made of large stones.  As they dismounted, they held onto one of the stones, which dislodged and caused the boys to fall to the ground.  The stone fell on top of the eight-year-old child, who suffered serious injuries as a result.

The plaintiff brought a negligence suit against the owner of the condominium complex and the condominium association on behalf of his eight-year-old child.  After the lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, the plaintiff appealed.

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Grocery stores and many other businesses have a duty to take reasonable precautions against foreseeable dangers.  If a store breaches its duty, it may be held liable in a Maryland premises liability claim for an injury caused by its negligence.  In a November 5, 2019 personal injury case, the plaintiff sued a grocery store for an injury involving one of its displays.  When the circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The defendant’s store is marketed as a cost-effective approach to grocery shopping.  Rather than placing items on shelves for display, open shipping boxes are stacked on the floor or placed on wide shelves with other opened and unopened boxes.  Customers often take shipping boxes to use to carry their purchases, as the store does not provide bags.  The plaintiff in the case was standing in a check-out aisle of the defendant’s store, which was lined with stacked and open shipping boxes.  The plaintiff alleged that two glass jars fell from a display and smashed into the floor next to his feet.  Startled, the plaintiff jumped, causing him to twist his right leg and tear a muscle.

To assert a successful negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove the elements of duty, breach, injury, and causation.  In Maryland, businesses such as the defendant have a duty to warn customers of known hidden dangers, a duty to inspect the premises for dangers, and a duty to take reasonable precautions against foreseeable dangers.  This duty applies to dangers and unsafe conditions created by the business, as well as dangers that may be caused by the negligent acts of its employees or other customers, where the business should have anticipated the possible occurrence and results of those acts.

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A serious car crash may cause permanent injuries and lasting pain.  In Maryland, an individual may recover damages for pain and suffering, as well as past and future medical expenses and other losses, in a personal injury suit.  In a November 14, 2019 Maryland car accident case, a jury awarded the plaintiff over 1.1 million dollars in damages for the injuries he suffered.  The defendant appealed the jury award as excessive, and the matter came before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The plaintiff was driving home from work when he was struck by the defendant’s vehicle in a head-on collision.  The day after the accident, the plaintiff sought medical treatment for severe pain and decreased range of motion.  Further testing indicated that the plaintiff had suffered a disk injury in his back, which likely would not heal due to various factors.  The plaintiff filed a personal injury suit against the defendant, who conceded liability for the accident.  The only issue at trial was damages.

At trial, the plaintiff’s medical experts testified that the injury permanent, painful, and would continue to cause substantial pain.  Despite the pain, the plaintiff declined pain relief medication that would prevent him from working as an equipment operator.  The jury awarded the plaintiff approximately 1.1 million dollars for future pain and suffering, which was subject to the Maryland non-economic damages cap, and also awarded damages for his medical bills and lost wages.  One of the arguments asserted by the defendant on appeal was that the jury verdict was excessive.

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In a Maryland personal injury case, a plaintiff must present proof of the amount of their damages.  Recoverable damages may include past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and other economic and non-economic losses incurred by the plaintiffs.  In a November 15, 2019 car accident case, the issue of damages came before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.  The plaintiff appealed after a jury awarded her $3,100 for her injuries caused by the accident.

The plaintiff in the case was involved in a car accident when she was a junior in high school.  While seated as a passenger in her father’s vehicle, the defendant had rear-ended their car, which caused her head to hit the head rest very hard.  She immediately had a slight headache, but appeared unharmed following the accident.  Over the next few months, however, the plaintiff’s headaches worsened, and she showed signs of memory loss.  Her symptoms prevented her from playing in golf tournaments, and although she received a golf scholarship her senior year, and she felt that her poor performance after the accident prevented her from securing a scholarship in her junior year.

The plaintiff brought a personal injury claim against the defendant, who conceded to liability.  At trial, the issue for the jury was the amount of damages.  The plaintiff argued on appeal that the trial court erred by suppressing some evidence and testimony regarding college scholarships, her memory loss, and other matters.

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