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An Ellicott City man was tragically killed this past weekend while participating in a “Tough Mudder” obstacle course. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/bs-md-tough-mudder-death-20130422,0,3954904.story.

Based on what we know so far this case will almost certainly lead to a wrongful death claim against the operators of this race. Runners in these kinds of events certainly understand that they are subjecting themselves to certain risks by participating in them – twisted ankles, broken bones or even cardiac events come to mind – and probably even signed waivers to insulate the operators from liability from these known risks.

But drowning? It seems almost impossible to believe that the operators of this race would create an obstacle requiring people to traverse a plank over a body of muddy water deep enough to drown in apparently without warning the participants of the depth of the water. And if they were reckless enough to set up this kind of obstacle, it seems obvious that they should have stationed enough trained instructors in and around the obstacle to prevent such a forseeable occurrence. After all, everyone in the race is covered head to toe in mud as are the obstacles making them treacherously slippery. It is not only forseeable, it is all but certain that someone is going to slip or jump off of the obstacle into the water.

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Recent developments and reports regarding the side effects of energy drinks are getting more and more attention in Maryland and national news. Reports are surfacing of several deaths and other serious medical conditions potentially resulting from the consumption of energy drinks or “dietary supplements” such as; Monster Energy, Red Bull, Amp, 5-Hour Energy, Rockstar, and Venom. Personal injury lawyers are taking notice.
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Our law firm recently handled a serious dog attack on a young child in Pennsylvania. Each jurisdiction we encounter throughout the mid-atlantic region has different variances on the owner of a dog that causes personal injury. Pennsylvania law is slightly different than Maryland.

The Pennsylvania Code contains the regulations pertaining to dogs. Dog Laws are codified in Title 3, Chapter 8, of the Pennsylvania Code. The portion of the dog laws pertaining to dangerous dogs is codified in 3 P.S. § 459-501-A through § 459-507-A.
Under Pennsylvania Dog Law, the owner/keeper of any dog is required at all times to keep the dog either :
1. Confined within the premises of the owner
2. Firmly secured by means of a collar and chain or other device so that it cannot stray beyond the premises on which it is secured; or
3. Under the reasonable control of some person Pennsylvania Dog Law is the standard for determining whether a person has complied with the duty to exercise ordinary care. Unexcused violations constitute negligence per se. However, a violation of the Dog Law does not establish the necessary causation for a finding of liability. Liability does not attach unless the violation is a substantial factor is bringing about the injuries sustained. Villaume v. Kaufman, 379 Pa. Super. 561, 550 A.2d 793 (1988), aff’g Miller v. Hurst, 302 Pa. Super. 235, 448 A.2d 614 (1982).
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An article in the Baltimore Sun is reporting that one person was killed and three other people injured in a collision on wednsday night. The accident which occurred at the intersection of Old Court Road and Scotts Level Road involved a Jeep Cherokee and a Nissan Maxima. According to the article, the Baltimore County Police Department believes that the Jeep ran a red light striking the Nissan Maxima killing its driver and injuring its passenger. Police are still investigating.

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WBAL is reporting in an online article that the worker killed Tuesday at the Dundalk Marine Terminal has been identified as 46 year old James Mills Gillus of Dundalk. Mr. Gillus was tragically killed when he was attempting to climb back into his vehicle after he noticed it was rolling backward and was struck by the vehicle. The vehicle he was operating is used to haul dumpsters around the marine terminal. State and Federal Workplace officials are investigating this accident. Mr. Gillus’ family will be entitled to Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits because he was killed during the course and scope of his employment. Additionally, under certain situations, they may be able to recover in a wrongful death action. An experienced Maryland Accident Attorney will be able to explain the family’s rights to them.

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Baltimore personal injury attorney, Craig Zissel of the firm Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White won a contested auto accident case in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County last Tuesday. Mr. Zissel’s client was injured when the vehicle he was riding in was struck from behind while stopped at a stop light. GEICO denied liability for the accident claiming there was no way our client could have been injured due to the minor nature of the accident. Additionally, they pointed out the many prior accidents our client had been involved in. After deliberating for an hour, the Montgomery County jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff for the full amount of his medicals plus an award for non-economic damages to compensate him for his pain and suffering. Prior to trial, GEICO had offered no money to settle the case. This verdict represents a great result for Montgomery County, which is historically a defense-oriented, conservative jurisdiction.
At trial, Mr. Zissel focused the jury’s attention on the evidence supporting his client’s claims including the testimony, property damage photos and medical bills.

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A Tour Bus travelling back from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., to Chinatown, New York City crashed on I95 near the exit for the Huntington Parkway. News reports have confirmed at least 13 dead with many others injured, some critically. A spokesman for the New york State Police indicated that he expected the death toll to rise as several of the critically injured appeared to be in grave condition.

At least one report to 911 claimed that the bus was cut off by a tracker trailer that then left the scene. Police are interviewing witnesses and reviewing video to try to determine the accuracy of that report and if true, to locate the truck and its driver. The investigation should be helped by the fact that the driver of the bus has apparently survived the accident although he was injured. Police expect to interview him soon and expect the interview to be very helpful in determining the cause of the accident.
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Often in negligence matters against a corporation, the corporation does not have adequate insurance coverage to pay for the injured person’s medical expenses and damages. In these instances when the corporation does not have assets, a diligent plaintiff’s lawyer will go after the principal(s) of the corporation. This is known in legal terms as “Piercing the Corporate Veil”.

“Maryland law is crystalline ‘that the corporate entity will be disregarded only when necessary to prevent fraud or to enforce a paramount equity.'”
• The mere fact that all or almost all of the corporate stock is owned by one individual or a few individuals will not afford sufficient grounds for disregarding corporateness

If substantial ownership of the stock of a corporation in a single individual is combined with other factors which support disregarding the corporation on grounds of fundamental equity, a court may pierce the corporate veil. Factors weighed in an analysis to determine whether a corporation is the ‘alter ego’ or instrumentality of the individual stockholder are:
• Whether the corporation was grossly undercapitalized
• Corporation’s failure to observe corporate formalities
• Non-payment of dividends
• Corporation’s insolvency
• Dominant stockholder’s siphoning of corporate funds
• Nonfunctioning of officers or directors
• Absence of corporate records
• Corporation’s status as a façade for the stockholders’ operations
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Although we are based in Maryland, our attorneys are often retained to handle wrongful death cases all over the United States. Below is a detailed discussion on the status of the wrongful death law in Massachusetts:

Questions Presented: (1) Who can bring, and benefit from, a wrongful death action under Massachusetts law? (2) What damages can be recovered for wrongful death? (3) Is there a cap on non-economic damages?

Discussion:

(1) Who can bring, and benefit from, a wrongful death action under Massachusetts law?

The entire statutory scheme for wrongful death recovery in Massachusetts is contained in G.L. c. 229. The basic principles for liability for wrongful death are set forth in G.L. c. 229, § 2, which provides:

A person who (1) by his negligence causes the death of a person , or (2) by willful, wanton or reckless act causes the death of a person under such circumstances that the deceased could have recovered damages for personal injuries if his death had no resulted, or (3) operates a common carrier of passengers and by his negligence causes the death of a passenger, or (4) operates a common carrier of passengers and by his willful, wanton or reckless act causes the death of a passenger under such circumstances that the deceased could have recovered damages for personal injuries if his death had not resulted, or (5) is responsible for a breach of warranty . . . which results in injury to a person that causes death, shall be liable [for] damages. . . .

G.L. c. 229, § 2. Thus, the statute allows recovery for death resulting from negligence, breach of warranty, or reckless or intentional conduct.

The proper party to bring a wrongful death suit under G.L. c. 229, § 2 is the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate. G.L. c. 229, § 2. The personal representative brings the action to enforce the rights of the estate and the statutory beneficiaries. The beneficiaries may not sue in their own names for any damages resulting from wrongful death. See Stockdale v. Bird & Son, Inc., 399 Mass. 249 (1987). A wrongful death action may be brought against any person or corporation who causes the death of a person. G.L. c. 229, § 2.
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In Maryland, to establish a claim of fraudulent misrepresentation, a plaintiff must prove: (1) that a false representation was made, (2) that its falsity was either known or that the representation was made with such reckless disregard to the truth as to be equivalent to actual knowledge of falsity, (3) that the representation was made for the purpose of defrauding the plaintiff, (4) that the plaintiff had the right to, and did, reasonably rely on the representation, and would not have acted had the misrepresentation not been made, and (5) that the plaintiff suffered damage directly resulting from the misrepresentation. See Swinson v. Lords Landing Village Condo., 360 Md. 462, 476, 758 A.2d 1008, 1016 (2000) (citing Gittings v. Von Dorn, 136 Md. 10, 15-16, 109 A. 553, 553-54 (1920); Martens Chevrolet v. Seney, 292 Md. 328, 333, 439 A.2d 534, 537 (1982)).

In determining the amount of damages for fraudulent misrepresentation in Maryland, the Court of Appeals adopted the “flexibility theory” in Hinkle v. Rockville Motor Co., 262 Md. 502, 519, 278 A.2d 42, 47 (1971). In doing so the court stated, “[it] has never taken a rigid stand in adopting one theory of damages to the exclusion of all others but has rather employed a flexible approach.” This approach uses four rules as a guide for the proper measure of damages in cases of fraudulent misrepresentation, which include:

(1) If the defrauded party is content with the recovery of only the amount that he actually lost, his damages will be measured under that rule;

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