Attorneys’ fees in frivolous civil suits

gavel2There has been much discussion in the news lately about lawsuits that some people might consider frivolous or unjustified. 

Even parties who win such lawsuits are rarely successful in having a Court order the losing side to pay their legal fees, since Maryland and most jurisdictions in most civil cases follow the American rule that each side pays their attorneys’ fees and litigation costs. 


County files suit against opioid manufacturers

  • Published in Local

countysealROCKVILLE — Montgomery County is suing 14 manufactures and distributors of prescription opioids as part of the county’s efforts to combat the growing nationwide opioid addiction crisis, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) announced Wednesday. Attorneys filed the suit Wednesday in federal court because it is the most appropriate venue to address the devastating effect the opioid addiction crisis has had on the County.

“The opioid crisis is wreaking severe damage on individuals and communities throughout our great nation – and Montgomery County is not immune,” Leggett said. “Just ask the first responders in our Fire & Rescue Service and our Police. Ask our front-line personnel in Health & Human Services. We are talking about addiction, death, broken lives and broken families.”


Maryland joins lawsuit against EPA

  • Published in State

Maryland has joined seven other states in filing a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency for refusing to follow act on a request to curb air pollution from other states.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, states the EPA is not enforcing part of the Clean Air Act because it has not added several “upwind” states, whose pollution blows eastward toward the East Coast to a group of East Coast states that work together to curb pollution.

“Their continuing policy favors businesses over the health of people who breathe polluted air,” said Christine Tobar, a spokesperson for Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.


“Good Old Boys Club”

  • Published in Local

Woman claims climate at WMATA discourages sex assault reporting

metro logoA union shop steward and veteran bus driver for The Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority says the culture at WMATA discourages women from coming forward to report sexual harassment.

Linda Mercer, who has been a bus driver for more than 15 years, posted a video on her Facebook page making the claim.

"There's always been a good old boys club within WMATA," Mercer said.

“You can't tell, because when you tell, you're blackballed,” Mercer added.

In the video on her Facebook page she outlined the problem: “There have been plenty of women that have been sexually assaulted, touched in ways they don't want to be touched.”


Metro Assaults Up

Broken Promises - Bad Dreams, A Metro Investigation (Fifth in a series)

WMATA’s overall crime down but concerns remain on Metrorail 

Metro entranceIn the last six years, the MTPD (Metro Transit Police Department) has battled several lawsuits from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) relating to their use of excessive force. At the same time, although overall crime has gone down at Metro stations, the number of assaults has gone up. Two notable suits involved young teens. According to the complaint filed by the ACLU in D.C. district court, in 2013 a 14-year-old girl referred to as A.K., was falsely arrested by MTPD officer Leo Taylor for a possible curfew violation. According to the ACLU the curfew would not have applied to A.K. since the train she was on was involved in interstate travel. Taylor pulled A.K. away from her older sister, punched her in the face, handcuffed her and then dragged her out of the station.

According to the complaint, Taylor took A.K. to a street-level bus shelter. Another officer told A.K. she could stand up, when she did Officer Taylor tackled her to the ground and smashed A.K’s head against the side of a bus shelter. When A.K. started to spit blood, Taylor tried to put a surgical mask on her, when A.K. resisted, Taylor hit the 14-year-old in the face several more times.

The teen suffered a severe concussion and had to receive physical therapy due to her injuries.

According to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) spokeswomen Sherri Ly, Taylor still works for Metro. She was unable to provide any specifics about his duty assignments.

“Like every police force in a large metropolitan area, they are dealing with tens of thousands of people every day; they are dealing with crowded conditions. I have some sympathy that they have a very tough job to do, in general, police officers try to do it well sometimes things do not turn out right, more often there are officers who just lose their temper,” said ACLU legal head Art Spitzer.


Suing in order to avoid paying a bill

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It is sometimes said that the best defense is a good offense. This is often not the case in the court system, as illustrated by a no nonsense unreported opinion this month from Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals called Johnson v. Xerox Educational Solutions.


Federal Judge rules for Rockville

  • Published in Local

Rockville City Hall 2A federal district court judge said the city of Rockville does not have to release the contents of the infamous Saul Ewing report completed by the company to investigate claims that supervisors and senior level staff discriminated against city employees.


Suing for witholding evidence

gavel2There have been a number of cases since the advent of DNA testing  where, often times many years later, a person who has been wrongfully convicted has had his conviction overturned when evidence is later tested. Whether the wrongfully convicted person can obtain damages from the government officials who participated in the prosecution was explored by a three judge panel of the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in an opinion last month in the case of James Owens v. Baltimore City State’s Attorneys’ office.

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