In some Maryland personal injury cases, the plaintiffs may have multiple, alternative theories of negligence that could establish the defendant’s liability. The case cannot be dismissed before trial unless the defendant shows that the plaintiffs could not prevail on any of their theories. In a February 26, 2019 case before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, the plaintiffs argued that their alternative theory of negligence had not been addressed by the circuit court when it dismissed their case against the defendants.
The plaintiffs in the case had attended a celebration held by the Baltimore Ravens and the City of Baltimore for their Super Bowl victory in 2013. A victory parade was planned from City Hall to the stadium, where fans were invited to a free event following the parade. On the day of the event, the stadium had reached capacity before the parade even started. The stadium gates were ordered closed by the fire marshal, but remained unlocked in case of an emergency. The plaintiffs were standing outside the stadium when someone announced that the gate near them was open. A crowd then surged toward the gate, knocking over and trampling the plaintiffs, injuring them both.
The plaintiffs filed a negligence action against the Ravens, the stadium owners, and the crowd-control contractor. The plaintiffs asserted two alternative theories of negligence. One, that the defendants failed to anticipate the reasonably foreseeable, large crowd they had invited to the stadium, and then failed to take reasonable safety precautions to control the crowd, which created a hazardous condition. Second, after the unprecedented public crowd had arrived, the defendants failed to warn of the danger, or to make a reasonable effort to eliminate the danger. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, finding that the defendants did not have notice of any dangerous conditions at the stadium.
In Maryland, businesses have an affirmative duty to protect invitees against dangers that arise from unsafe conditions on the physical property, as well as dangers caused by the negligence of others where such negligent acts could be reasonably anticipated. After reviewing the case, the appeals court determined that the circuit court’s ruling did not address whether the defendants should have reasonably foreseen a crowd of the size that had attended, and that they had invited.
The appeals court went on to conclude that the ruling also did not address whether the defendants had taken appropriate safety precautions in light of the highly publicized, unticketed event. Accordingly, the appeals court reversed the judgment and remanded the case back to circuit court for the plaintiffs to proceed with their suit.
If you are seeking experienced legal representation after an accident, contact the Maryland injury attorneys at Foran & Foran. We can provide trustworthy advice to negligence victims and their families regarding premises liability actions, medical malpractice claims, and many other personal injury cases. Request your free consultation with a knowledgeable Maryland lawyer by calling (301) 441-2022 or submitting our website contact form online.
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Court Decides Appeal Involving Pedestrian Fall on Icy, Broken Sidewalk, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published July 24, 2017
Maryland Plaintiff Pursues Appeal Against Clothing Store After Trip and Fall Injury, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published May 15, 2018