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Thanks to Delegate C.T. Wilson’s persistent effort, the Maryland General Assembly passed and Governor Larry Hogan signed into law House Bill 642 on April 4, 2017.  The new law provision extends the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse to sue offenders and the individuals, organizations and/or government entities who allowed the abuse to occur.

Maryland’s previous statute of limitations provided that child sex abuse victims only had to age 25 to sue (seven years from the date the victim reached the age of majority). The new law extends the statute of limitations to age 38. Although the law is a huge step forward, there are a couple of important things to note.

The Law Requires Gross Negligence to Sue Responsible Third Parties

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Another fatal train accident has taken place on the east coast. This one occurred yesterday in Philadelphia and the preliminary investigating seems to indicate that the cause of the accident was conductor error. According to the unnamed sources, the so called “black boxes” which were recovered from the crash scene indicate that the train was travelling at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. The accident occurred as the train attempted to negotiate a curve in the tracks where trains are not to exceed 50 miles per hour. So far, eight people are confirmed dead and hundreds more have been injured. There is a criminal investigation underway. https://www.mdattorney.com/contact-us.html
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Sadly, another bicycle rider has been killed by a driver, this time in Roland Park. An article regarding this most recent matter can be found here.

I have handled two high-profile bicycle death cases in Maryland in the last few years, and both of them were tragic. The first involved a bicyclist who was run over by a commercial vehicle in Baltimore City. An article regarding that case can be found here. That case also involved a hit and run, though the driver in that case never came back to the scene.

The second involved a Johns Hopkins student who was run over by an elderly woman. An article regarding that case can be found here.

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On October 14, 20014, prominent D.C. Rabbi and religious scholar Barry Freundel was arrested by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and charged with various offenses relating to voyeurism. According to charging documents, which can be found here, Rabbi Freundel installed recording devices in the changing/shower area connected to a Jewish ritual bath known as a “mikvah.”

Rabbi Freundel was affiliated with Kesher Israel in Washington, D.C., he was a Jewish studies professor at Georgetown Law and he served on the faculty at Towson University in Maryland. Preliminary information suggests Rabbi Freundel encouraged his female students to participate in the mikvah and thousands of women who used the mikvah face the very real prospect that Rabbi Freundel captured and/or distributed the women’s images without their knowledge or consent. Media accounts indicate that several of the institutions with which Rabbi Freundel was affiliated are currently investigating other potential misconduct and MPD’s investigation in that regard is ongoing.

Silverman|Thompson|Slutkin|White|LLC (STSW) is in the process of investigating the potential criminal and civil liability flowing from Rabbi Freundel’s conduct on behalf of several potential victims. If you believe you may be a victim of Rabbi Freundel, you have important rights in the criminal process that STSW’s victims’ rights attorneys can help you protect. In addition, you have the right to seek a financial recovery against an array of individuals and entities that may be held liable for Rabbi Freundel’s acts. Many of these rights are time-sensitive and it is imperative that you immediately seek competent legal representation.

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More than 100,000 households and businesses have been left without potable water because of a large-scale chemical spill discovered Thursday on the Elk River near Charlestown, West Virginia. The spill occurred just north of one of the largest water treatment plants in America and as many as 480,000 residents may be affected.
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A tragic national trend continued Sunday in the latest incident of police killing an unarmed individual suffering from mental illness or disability. After allegedly stating “I don’t have time for this,” a police officer shot unarmed North Carolina resident Keith Vidal, 18, in the chest, fatally wounding the 5’3″, 90-pound teen. Vidal, who suffered from schizophrenia, had been experiencing a psychotic episode and his family was unable to calm him down.

During the episode, Vidal’s stepfather, Mark Wilsey, called 911 for help and reported that Vidal had refused to take his medication and was attempting to fight his mother. Wilsey requested that police take Vidal somewhere he could receive help. According to the family, three officers from three different police departments then arrived on the scene.

The first two officers spoke with Vidal and apparently had some success in calming him down, when the third officer, from the Southport Police Department, arrived 14 minutes later. As stated in a police report obtained by a local news station, one of the officers informed the 911 dispatcher multiple times that that everything at the scene was okay. According to Wilsey, however, when the third officer arrived, he suggested that a Taser be used on Vidal, at which point Vidal attempted to run from the officers.

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Last month, a D.C. jury found that the District Lounge & Grille, a bar (now closed) formerly located in the Adams Morgan section of the District, was liable to the Estate of Julia Bachleitner under the D.C. Dram Shop Statute. The parties had previously agreed that, if the bar was found liable, the damages would be $1 million.
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STSW is currently investigating potential criminal and civil claims arising out of the massacre of 13 Navy Yard employees on behalf of several of the victims’ families.

Aaron Alexis was employed by The Experts, a subcontractor of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services (HP), and was granted access to secure Navy Yard facilities in that capacity. Based on the widespread media reports of Alexis’ increasingly bizarre behavior, The Experts was potentially on notice of a dangerous mental illness. Alexis was living in a hotel with fellow employees who apparently witnessed his declining mental state, as did members of the hotel staff. Alexis was also involved in several encounters with police which either were or could have been discovered by The Experts. The Experts may be liable for, among other things, wrongful death, negligent hiring, negligent supervision and negligent retention. Depending on the precise relationship between The Experts and HP, HP faces potential liability.

Others may also be held accountable for the deaths and injuries suffered by the victims and their families. The federal government may have been negligent in permitting Alexis to bring a disassembled weapon onto its premises and the contractor who performed his employment background check could also be held accountable for failing to discover signs of obvious mental illness.

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In an effort to help our clients understand the process of negotiating a personal injury claim, I have compiled the following information that I feel is important you understand once the medical bills, lost wage statements and any other “special” damages have been obtained and the negotiating process has begun.

There are basically two types of damages to be considered when evaluating your claim, special damages and general damages:

a. Special damages are those damages for which you can show a dollar amount that you incurred as a result of having to pay money or losing money as a result of the collision and your injuries. Examples of special damages are medical bills and lost wages.

b. General damages are the damages for which you do not have a bill or for which you cannot show any “tangible” loss. Examples of general damages are pain and suffering.
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The law firm of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White takes on a limited number of plaintiff’s personal injury cases each month. We limit our intake so we can provide the highest quality representation to each of our clients. To better equip our clients with an understanding of the process, we have broken down the phases of what to expect of our attorney-client relationship.

THE INITIAL CONFERNCE:

General information regarding the incident will be obtained when you are first interviewed. Certain other material relating to things you should not do will be furnished to you. You will be asked to sign authorization forms which will allow us to obtain necessary information. We will schedule a follow-up appointment for you to meet with the attorney handling your case shortly after you retain Silverman Thompson Slutkin and White.
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