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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

If someone has wrongfully and intentionally caused you great emotional harm in Maryland, you may have a claim for the intentional inflection of emotional distress.

Maryland law, however, does not make it easy to bring an intention infliction of emotional distress claim.  To bring this tort, the plaintiff must demonstrate a “truly devastating effect” from the defendant’s behavior.  The emotional response must be so awful that “no reasonable person could be expected to endure it.”

“The elements of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress in Maryland are: (1) the conduct is intentional or reckless; (2) the conduct is extreme and outrageous; (3) there is a causal connection between the wrongful conduct and the emotional distress; and (4) the emotional distress is severe. In order for distress to be sufficiently severe to state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, “the plaintiff [must] show that he suffered a severely disabling emotional response to the defendant’s conduct, and that the distress was so severe that “no reasonable man could be expected to endure it.” [” image-0=”” count=”1″ html=”true” css_class=””]

People move to Fallston to get away from a bit from the hustle and bustle. But Fallston is in the spotlight now as homes in a community named Grafton Ridge are worried about their drinking water.

Apparently, there is an unacceptable amount of lead in the residents’ drinking water. I used to defend lead paint cases years ago. One thing is for sure: lead causes brain injuries in children.

Are there potential lawsuits here? Sure. Against who? No one knows. An investigation is ongoing. The second hurdle for successful claims will be the lead exposure levels. Lead is ubiquitous. My kids are exposed to lead and so are yours. The question is how high are the levels.

The general statute of limitations in Maryland is three years, as set forth in Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 5-101. This is the “default” statute of limitations that applies unless another limitation period is applicable. Master Fin., Inc. v. Crowder, 409 Md. 51, 70, 972 A.2d 864, 875 (2009).

I’ve seen statistics that nearly a third of all legal malpractice claims arise out of personal injury lawyers blowing the statute of limitations. How is that? Some lawyers are so disorganized they just miss the statute. But I suspect this is the minority of cases. The main culprits are the most notable exceptions for Maryland personal injury lawyers of these general rules which either apply a different statute of limitations or require notice to bring a claim:

  • Maryland Local Government Tort Claims Act

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For years – it all started right after Henry Ford – accident lawyers have been listening to clients and their spouses say they should be entitled to compensation for loss of services even when the victim survives the accident. More Maryland accident lawyers are paying closer attention to this and including these damages in personal injury lawsuits. loss of services cases Jury Verdict Research put out a study based on verdicts rendered from February 1998 through February 2010 for loss of services damages in non-wrongful death cases. The overall median compensatory award for loss of services in non-death cases was $25,000. The average, however, was $234,764. Clearly, and this is interesting, juries are more receptive to these claims when the accident victim is a married woman. The median award was $40,000 for wives and the average was $365,510.

Verdicts and Settlements Involving Loss of Services

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MAJ is putting on an auto negligence seminar called “Maximizing Auto Negligence Damages at

Mediation, Arbitration and District Court Trials” on April 29th in Columbia.

Moderators:

The defendant prevailed in a lawsuit contending that a Baltimore City police officer was negligent when he shot and killed a fellow police officer during a fight that erupted at an East Baltimore strip club.

I didn’t follow this sad case. You can read the Maryland Daily Record account of the case and the verdict here.

A New York appellate court ruled that the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office’s failure to inform parents that they had removed and kept their 17-year-old son’s brain created a cause of action against the ME.

I don’t know how I feel about this case. On some level, when you lose a 17-year-old son, you are always right. About everything. It is so awful you sort of want to spin everything in the parent’s favor. On the other hand, the brain was returned (as strange as that sentence sounds). It seems like a great deal of litigation over an issue that is incredibly tangential to the core issue: the tragic death of a young man in a car accident. The boy’s sister also has a separate lawsuit pending for her emotional injuries because she was in the zone of danger.

You can read the full story and draw your own conclusions here.

The 4th Circuit flipped a District Court decision to reduce attorneys’ fees in the case from $6,000,000 to $600,000. Why? The court acknowledged that plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers take on risk when they take a case.

Plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers are victims (yes, I said victims) of what Malcolm Gladwell and others call “creeping determinism,” the sense that, in hindsight, what has happened was actually inevitable when the outcome was far from inevitable from the beginning.

Governor O’Malley signed into Maryland law a version of the “Castle Doctrine” that provides civil immunity when defending your house or workplace.

This bill has no practical impact in the real world. Criminals are really not bringing successful claims against homeowners. But, as I explained on the Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog, immunities are all a part of what James Sawyer called the “Long Con.” Clearly, the commenters to this post disagree.

I found this link from the Daily Record’s blog to a rare Daily Double about spotting a prospective hold out juror; it was both funny and educational. Of course, it would have been a lot more educational if Maryland had a voir dire process that allowed you to actually learn something about the jurors besides their name, rank and serial number.