Articles Posted in Maryland

According to a study by Jury Verdict Research, the average gunshot wound verdict is $727,852 ($100,000 median).

For the purposes of this study, a gunshot wound is defined as soft tissue damage to the victim caused by birdshot, a pellet gun, BB gun or traditional gun with no organ damage, fractures, paralysis, brain damage, visual impairment or hearing loss.

It is difficult to recover damages for an intentional gunshot wound because it is difficult to get insurance for intentional acts and it is even more difficult to claim that the company/municipality the shooter was working for was vicariously liable.

Maryland and Georgia both have rulings on tap from their high courts on caps on economic damages. Georgia got the ball rolling yesterday when the Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday on whether its cap on damages for medical malpractice claims is constitutional. A Georgia medical malpractice lawyer argued for the Plaintiff that the tort reform law in 2005 is unconstitutional because it grants unfair preferences and exemptions to hospital emergency departments.

Plaintiffs have a real shot in this case. The Georgia high court has previously stuck down laws that gave special exemptions to asbestos manufacturers facing property claims. Stay tuned….

Settlement for $1.8 million was reached in a medical malpractice lawsuit where the jury this June awarded $4 million against an emergency room doctor. While that sounds like a major compromise, there is a cap on medical malpractice awards in Virginia, so the actual verdict after the cap was $1.8 million.

Plaintiff’s Virginia medical malpractice lawyers alleged that a doctor misdiagnosed their 25-year-old client’s heart condition. Plaintiff’s condition was eventually diagnosed by doctors at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore.

This case had complications in discovery because of a problem I have discussed before: one lawyer representing all the doctors (you can find the details in this article on the case). Defense medical malpractice lawyers love when doctors lock hands and sing “all for one, one for all.” The problem is that this invariably leads to conflicts when the doctors could very easily point at each other.

The Maryland Court of Appeals decided Pittway v. Collins last month, a tragic case involving a lawsuit that arose out of a fire that took two lives in Montgomery County in 1998. A burning candle caused the fire in the basement, where the children – guests of the tenants of the house – were sleeping. The children lit the candle during an electrical outage caused by thunderstorms and the HVAC powered smoke detector that had no backup was not operational. Making the problem worse, the basement was a windowless basement bedroom that did not have proper egress.

Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against a chain of defendants for failing to supply an adequate fire alarm: the builder, the landlord, the electrical subcontractor, the city rental inspector, and the home improvement company that renovated the basement four years earlier.

After settlements and summary judgment, everyone got out of the case except for the builder and the manufacturer. Both filed motions for summary judgment, before the discovery deadline, that intervening negligent acts superseded the claims against them. The trial court granted the motions. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly reports on an insane case in Virginia where an emergency room doctor in Hampton received a defense verdict.

After a night of partying, the decedent and his friend got into a dispute over whether the decedent would drive drunk from Hampton back home to Atlanta with his 4-year-old son. The best friend did what best friends usually do – he stabbed him in the thigh.

The decedent was taken to the emergency room. Plaintiff’s malpractice lawsuit claimed that the emergency room doctor should have sought out detailed information about the length of the knife. The defendant was told only that the decedent was stabbed with a knife and that the length of the blade was unknown. The defendant assumed it was a small blade.

The Baltimore Injury Lawyer Blog has a post on a Maryland Daily Record article looking at how President-Elect Barack Obama might change the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals which includes Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

I’ve spent far more time thinking about how President Obama will change the country than his impact on lawyers or even my own clients. But President Obama will nominate judges that I will stand before and argue. While I think President Bush has nominated a lot of good judges, this fact makes me a little happier to be a lawyer today. I’m not saying every plaintiffs’ lawyer will have a better shot at success in front of judges nominated by Obama. I just think they are likely to be fair and reasonable judges.

Mr. Miller:

Hi, I am a Maryland attorney and would like to get little mentoring on any differences between an unidentified motorist claim and an uninsured motorist claim. Please call or send me an email and I promise I’ll be brief. Thanks so much for any help!

Dear Maryland Attorney:

There are NuvaRing lawsuits pending in an MDL (cases consolidated around the country in Missouri) and in New Jersey. Even though Organon is a New Jersey defendant, it sought to remove the NuvaRing cases because Organon was not “properly joined and served” under §1441(b) because Organon was not served with a tracking assignment number as required by New Jersey law.

No tracking assignment number? Who thinks of these things? Sure, strictly construed void of any sense of fairness or context, the statute the rule would preclude removal by an in-state defendant who has not been “properly joined and served” at the time of removal. But would a judge be such a foolish hypertechnical slave to the language beyond logic, reason, and the legislative intent of the statute? Thankfully, no. The New Jersey District Court found that strict adherence to the statute’s plain language would defeat the legislative intent and, accordingly, the law should not be interpreted to produce an absurd result.

Get the latest update as of August 2013 in these cases here.

Bob Zarbin and Jim MacAlister write a telling article in this month’s journal of the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association about Maryland’s new bad faith law. The authors note that the avalanche of bad faith claims the insurance companies said were coming down the pike with Maryland’s new bad faith law was actually only 12 in the first quarter of the 2008 and only 12 all last year.

Similarly, on the medical malpractice front, Maryland malpractice insurers claimed the sky was falling one minute and the next they are declaring $74 million profit to their doctor shareholders and lowering malpractice insurance rates. The legislative process requires that the viewpoints of all stakeholders. But can we at least make sure we put the proper discounted value on “the sky is falling” on the next go around? I’m hoping the next go around includes a revised bad faith law with more teeth than mere costs and expenses.

In the same issue, Kevin Goldberg, who is with Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester in Silver Spring, Maryland, writes a great article laying out a great checklist of avenues to explore when you have a catastrophic accident and what appears to be limited coverage.

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