In Maryland, most individuals and entities may be held liable for personal injuries caused by their negligent conduct. However, in situations involving alleged negligence on the part of the government or state officials, the concept of immunity may be a consideration. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals decided whether or not governmental immunity applied to a local county in a September 16, 2019 Maryland negligence case.
The plaintiff in the case had enrolled her son in youth swimming lessons offered by the County at a public park. After dropping her son off for his lesson, she walked through the park with her younger child strapped to her front in a baby carrier. As she traveled through a blacktop, gravel area in the park, her foot came into contact with a water pipe that was reportedly protruding above the gravel. She fell forward onto her hands and knees, injuring herself and her child.
The plaintiff then brought a lawsuit against the County, claiming that its negligence in maintaining the park caused the injuries to her and her child. The County filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was immune from suit for any injuries resulting from its maintenance of the park due to governmental immunity. The circuit court agreed and granted the motion based on case law establishing that the maintenance and operation of a public swimming pool by a local government is a governmental function. The plaintiff appealed that decision to the higher court.