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Maryland’s Cap on Damages Upheld in Pool Drowning Case

Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Sep 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

Maryland has a terribly unfair cap on damages in personal injury cases. On September 24, 2010 the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld the cap in DRD Pool Service, Inc. v. Thomas Freed. The case is a very sad case about the swimming pool drowning of Connor Freed, a healthy 5-year-old boy. A swimming pool drowning lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, MD. Legal claims were made for the drowning death and for the conscious pain and suffering of the young child who drowned to death. Although the trial judge excluded evidence of conscious pain and suffering of the drowning victim, the Court awarded over $4 million. Unfortunately, pursuant to Maryland's cap on non-economic damages the total award to $1,002,500.00. The young drowning victim's family appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and the Appellate Court upheld the Maryland cap. The Maryland Court of Appeals granted certiorari. Friday's decision affirmed the Court of Special Appeals and rejected the constitutional arguments that were made against the Maryland cap on damages. the decision is based on the legal concept of stare decisis, which basically means the court should not generally change prior precedent and is Latin for "to stand by the thing decided." the Court said "overall the constitutional challenges put forth by the Freeds are essentially the same challenges that we rejected in Murphy and Oaks." It should be noted that Judge Murphy filed a dissenting opinion arguing that the case should go back to the Circuit Court for them to use a heightened scrutiny test to determine if the Equal Protection Guarantee of the Constitution was violated.

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