August 2015 Archives

No Wonder for This Woman

Linda Carter (not the famous actress) sued the State of Maryland after allegedly being electrocuted in the Baltimore City courthouse. Ms. Carter had a Medtronic neurostimulator implanted in the middle of her back to alleviate her back pain injuries. She claimed that courthouse metal detectors caused her to be electrocuted when she passed through them or they passed over her. She sued the State under a number of legal theories including, but limited to, ADA claims, civil rights claims and common law claims. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner was clearly skeptical that Ms. Carter's testimony was accurate and pointed out that it was inconsistent with a court house videotape. Judge Gesner granted a summary judgment Motion filed by the State for a number of different reasons. This effectively threw Ms. Carter out of court. 

Damage to Correctly Installed Pipes not Damage to "Product or Completed Work of the Insured"

The recent case of State Auto. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Old Republic Ins. Co. decided by Judge Richard Bennett of the Maryland Federal District Court involves a fascinating analysis of a Maryland commercial general liability insurance policy. At issue was an insurer's duty to pay attorney's fees to defend against a lawsuit when an HVAC system went bad. In this case, otherwise non-defective components in the HVAC system, such as the pipes installed by a contractor, allegedly suffered damage due to a sub contractor's failure to treat the HVAC water. This damage resulted in loss of use of the affected pipes and other HVAC components. There was no evidence that the contractor expected that the non-defective pipes and other HVAC components would incur damage from untreated water. The court held that these events constituted an "occurrence" under the policy. As a result of this finding, the insurer was required to pay attorney's fees of the contractor despite the fact that the contractor had installed the HVAC system. 

Slip and Fall on Boat Out of Water

Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland recently held that a woman who fell in a display boat at a boat show has established a sufficient claim to proceed to trial. In the case of Schneider v. Ed's Marine Superstore, Inc., a woman was injured when she slipped and fell in a boat. She claimed the boat had a slippery surface, lacked support on the stern, and that no one responsible for putting the boat on display was present to supervise her while boarding. The marine store being sued claimed that the woman could not provide enough detail as to the cause of her fall to make the claim, but it was unsuccessful in making this argument. 

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