Articles Posted in Maryland

morganA Baltimore City Circuit Court judge has given the “go ahead” for a student’s lawsuit to proceed – for now, at least – against Morgan State University, denying a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit.

Awful details here.  The 23 year old Plaintiff has filed suit against Morgan State for failing to act to protect students and visitors on the university campus.  The lawsuit, which seeks more than $75,000 on each of three counts consistent with Maryland’s new law not to ask for specific damages in the Complaint,  was filed as a result of a horrific beating that the Plaintiff received by the hands of a man later found not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

The lawsuit alleges that there was foreseeability on the school’s part that something bad was going to happen.  That’s where the claim gets a little tricky.   The attacker, prone to violent outbursts at college events, attacked the Plaintiff with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, blinding him in one eye.  The lawsuit states that the warning signs were there, but that Morgan State failed to act.  Previously found wielding a machete on campus, and known to leave satanic rants on social media sites, the attacker has since been arrested on a separate case.  Charged with murder, it is alleged that he killed and dismembered a family friend, and consumed some of the deceased’s organs.

A Maryland federal bankruptcy judge refused to reconsider a ruling to lift an automatic stay in prolific Baltimore asbestos defendant Lloyd E. Mitchell Inc.’s Chapter 11 case so that a settlement with the debtor, two insurers, and a law firm representing 9,000 Baltimore asbestos personal injury claimants can be completed.
Mitchell was a Baltimore mechanical contracting business that went out of business almost 40 years ago and is now in the not so lucrative business of defending against asbestos meso claims. Peter G. Angelos and Peter T. Nicholl have filed an unbelievable 9,000 asbestos claims against Mitchell.

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Johns Hopkins’ seems to be getting its fair share of bad publicity lately.

You’ve had your head stuck in the sand if you are from Maryland and you haven’t heard of Dr. Nikita Levy. Today, Hopkins has shut down its facility on Keswick Road in northwest Baltimore while health officials try to figure out what caused a hazmat situation yesterday.

On Tuesday, fire crews were called to the facility after reports that several people had fallen ill, all with the same symptoms. The mayor’s Office of Emergency Management has said that seventeen people were sent to the hospital for treatment of a variety of illness symptoms.

With approximately 1,000 patients since beginning his practice 25 years ago, Dr. Nikita Levy leaves behind an “extraordinary” amount of evidence that he violated patient’s rights. Financial compensation may be available for his victims, approximately 100 of which have come forward so far.

Earlier this month, Dr. Nikita Levy, an OB/GYN at a medical center affiliated with Johns Hopkins, was suspended after a co-worker reported suspicious activity to the hospital’s security staff. Three days later, his employment was terminated. Within days, he was found dead in his Baltimore home from an apparent suicide.

Lawsuits against Dr. Levy and Johns Hopkins have already begun – invasion of privacy, emotional distress, and negligence are amongst the claims being made. While the investigation continues, and all of the evidence is yet to be known, his patients deserve to feel that somebody is listening and ready to protect their rights.

The New England Compounding Center has been blamed for the fatal fungal meningitis outbreak that recently killed 44 people and left another 650 seriously ill. Plaintiffs’ lawyers always speak in moderated terms, avoiding phrases like “we have they dead to rights.” But, boy, it sure looks like an open and shut case from where I’m standing.

Anyway, a Massachusetts bankruptcy court judge has frozen the assets of the specialty pharmacy’s four owners so that victims and creditors may make claims against the company. Under the new court order, NECC’s owners will not be able to access their assets other than to pay legal bills and living expenses. NECC had previously filed for Chapter 11 protection and is already facing 150 lawsuits. A hearing has been scheduled for February 28, 2013.

The deadly meningitis outbreak has been linked to a steroid injection produced by NECC. A government investigation revealed unsanitary pharmacy conditions and flawed sterility testing procedures. During an October facility visit, federal investigators found widespread mold among other contaminants. According to the FDA report on NECC, “clean” areas of the facility had visible surface discolorations and standing water. The company voluntarily ceased operations on October 4, 2012.

Last November, NECC’s director was called in front of the House of Representatives to explain the FDA report. He exercised his Fifth Amendment rights and did not comment on NECC’s facilities or the company’s link to the outbreak. Following a denial of liability, NECC blamed its cleaning company, UniFirst. Passing the buck in turn, UniFirst acknowledged that one of its subsidiary companies was contracted to clean NECC’s facilities but asserts that the services were limited and that the unsafe conditions and tainted drugs were not due to the actions of UniFirst employees. UniFirst reports that it sent two employees to NECC once a month for a total of ninety minutes. UniFirst also claims that the janitorial team only used NECC’s cleaning solutions.

This is not the first time NECC has been under scrutiny for failing government inspections or shipping tainted products. In 2003 the company had problems with contaminated medication and in 2006 the company was cited for unclean conditions.

Last year, at least 89 medical facilities in Maryland received drug shipments from NECC. Some of these shipments were linked to the deadly steroids. Maryland buyers include the University of Maryland Medical Center, Northwest Hospital, and Greater Baltimore Medical Center. More than 3,000 facilities nationwide purchased from NECC.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced a second death in Maryland as a result of the fungal meningitis outbreak that has been linked to tainted steroid injections.

We first told you in October that an outbreak of fungal meningitis was affecting several states including Maryland. Meningitis, a serious and potentially fatal infection near the brain and spinal cord, can cause brain damage or death. The CDC states that they have received 25 reported cases in Maryland, including the two deaths.

The CDC’s website shows the second death was reported sometime within the past week, though state health officials don’t have any details yet about the latest death. The CDC has reported that 590 illnesses and 37 deaths nationwide are now linked to the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.

New Jersey recently wrestled with a question of interest to all pet lovers. In McDougall v. Lamm, the plaintiff asked the court to decide what her pet was worth.

The facts of the case are simple, and our law firm frequently responds to calls like this. (We don’t handle them but we are glad to talk to you about it because we love animals, too.) The plaintiff’s dog was attacked by a larger dog, who picked it up, shook it, and dropped it to the ground, dead. The plaintiff saw her dog die. She filed a lawsuit against the attacking dog’s owner, who admitted that he was responsible for her damages. The court had to decide what her damages were.

The opinion touches on a number of issues, including the “zone of danger” rule (whether a plaintiff must be physically injured to recover for emotional damages received by watching another person suffer); the legal value of a dead pet; and whether a human can claim emotional damages for the death of a pet.

A few extra facts—the plaintiff told the court that she purchased her half-poodle/half-maltese nine years earlier for $200.00, and that she believed she could purchase a similar new puppy today for about $1,400.00. She of course testified that the dog was loved, knew many tricks, and was with her much of the day, particularly because she did not work out of the house.

The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s emotional damages claim, noting that New Jersey did not recognize such a claim in the context of a pet’s death. The court rendered a verdict of $5,000, noting that the replacement cost alone would not compensate the plaintiff for the “loss of a well-trained pet.” Even though the court stated that it did not grant emotional damages, I think that’s what it did here. A quick internet review shows that these dogs live an average of 14-18 years, so this dog had another four to eight years of life. It cost $200.00. The purchase of a brand new dog, though untrained, would cost $1,400.00. I bet she could get a trained maltipoo for $2,000 without any trouble. It seems to me that the court awarded her $3,000 in emotional distress damages, without directly calling it that. Now, if the court believed that emotional distress damages were legally proper, maybe it would have awarded more. Sadly, it ruled (as did the appellate court), that such emotional damages were improper.

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You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the Delmarva area, or anyone anywhere for that matter, that doesn’t recognize the names Yeardley Love or George Huguely.

In case you’ve had your head in the sand and haven’t heard these names, the story here is tragic. Yeardley Love was a popular and beautiful University of Virginia lacrosse player, whose was killed in an awful and vicious manner. Love’s former boyfriend, George Huguely, was convicted of her death and is currently awaiting sentencing.

It is being reported that Yeardley Love’s family has filed a lawsuit against George Huguely, and is asking for $29.45 million dollars in compensatory damages, with another $1 million being sought in punitive damages. The lawsuit states that Huguely “acted with such indifference to Love that his conduct constituted an utter disregard of caution amounting to a complete neglect of safety for Love.” Moreover, the suit said that Huguely “was aware, or should have been aware’ that Love was severely injured after the physical altercation that would result in her death.” The suit names Love’s sisters as beneficiaries of her estate.

  • Dave Stratton writes about the declining number of civil jury trials in Washington, D.C. The numbers surprised me.
  • Overlawyered ponders Grantland’s pondering about the end of football from professional liability lawsuits. I gave an interview to the Atlanta Constitution about this a few weeks ago. I think these cases are going nowhere. Fast. Max Kennerly also has thoughts.
  • More Linsanity. This following statement summarizes all of my opinions about copyright, trademark, and patent law: you should not be able to trademark the word Linsanity. You also should not be able to trademark the word ThreePeat. Yes, Pat Riley. I know you read this blog. I’m talking to you.