Maryland Plaintiff’s Agreement to Settle Lease Dispute Does Not Bar Personal Injury Claims of Her Son Against Landlords

If the careless acts of another person or business have caused you or your child to suffer a physical injury, you may be able to hold them responsible.  In a negligence lawsuit involving an injured child, an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer can advise parents as to the proper legal action to take.  In a December 7, 2018 case, the plaintiff filed suit against her landlords for injuries that occurred after her rental home became inhabitable due to mold infestation.  The case was brought before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The plaintiff in the case resided with her young son in a home she rented from the defendants.  She alleged that a few weeks after moving into the home, water began collecting and flooding into the kitchen and den.  Despite her repeated complaints to the defendants, the problem was not resolved and the flooding persisted.  Thereafter, her son began experiencing medical issues, including difficulties breathing, asthma-like symptoms, swelling, and rashes covering his body.  A medical diagnosis revealed that he was allergic to a variety of toxic molds.  Subsequent testing of the house confirmed the presence of extremely high levels of mold.  Fortunately, the son’s conditions improved after they vacated the property.

The parties then pursued breach of lease and eviction proceedings against each other in district court.  After the parties stated that they had reached an agreement to settle the matter, the district court dismissed the action.  Specifically, the understanding was that the plaintiff would not pursue any further claims arising out of the tenancy in exchange for half of the rent escrow funds.  Although the money was disbursed, the parties did not sign a written agreement.

Less than a month later, the plaintiff filed an action against the defendants for negligence, fraud, and other claims.  The circuit court found that the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the parties’ oral agreement.  The plaintiff asked the court to reconsider, arguing that her son was not bound by the agreement and should be allowed to pursue his injury claims against the defendants.  Her son, however, had not been named as a plaintiff in the action.  The circuit court denied the motion, and the matter was appealed.

On appeal, the court noted that a jury would typically determine whether a binding agreement had actually been reached.  In this case, the plaintiff had accepted the proceeds, and both parties performed under the terms by dismissing the district court case.  The appeals court affirmed the grant of summary judgment, concluding that the agreement became binding due to their actions.

The appeals court went on to find that the circuit court’s decision did not encompass any of the claims of the plaintiff’s son, however.  The court ruled that the plaintiff should have been permitted to amend her complaint to add her son’s claims, and remanded the matter  back in order for her to do so.

At Foran & Foran, P.A., we work tirelessly to help plaintiffs pursue legal recourse for their injuries.  Our dedicated Maryland attorneys have experience litigating medical malpractice actions and personal injury claims, such as those arising from semi-truck and automobile collisions.  Request a free legal consultation today by calling our office at (301) 441-2022 or contacting us online.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Plaintiff Pursues Appeal Against Clothing Store After Trip and Fall Injury, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published May 15, 2018

Maryland Court Allows Plaintiff to Proceed in Lead Paint Lawsuit Against Property Owner, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published August 20, 2016