On April 10, 2009, the Court of Appeals of Maryland denied certiorari in the case of Allen v. Marriott. You can read the opinion of the Court of Special Appeals here.
This is a bad case for injury victims and personal injury attorneys. My reading of the opinion is that it greatly broadens the scope of the doctrine of assumption of the risk in slip and fall on ice cases. Now, a Plaintiff cannot avoid the assumption of risk defense merely because they fell on ice they never saw.
Essentially, if it is February, and wet, you assume the risk of falling on ice because it is common knowledge that the temperature goes below 32 degrees in February and that water turns to ice when it is that cold. I think this is ridiculous. Using this analysis, shouldn’t those factors mean that property owners are on inquiry notice of a dangerous condition (ice) under those facts? I doubt we will see an appellate court in Maryland make such a holding.
With this coming so close to the Court of Appeals’ opinion in Grady v. Brown, this is not shaping up as a good spring.
I am starting to believe that whatever can go wrong will. I also just learned that the proposal to raise the amount for jury trial prayers to $20,000.00 died in the General Assembly’s House Judiciary Committee.
It seems like the burden of proof is a burden that just gets heavier. This all underscores the need for injury claimants to secure experienced trial attorneys to guide them through these legal minefields.
Also, we are extending a big M&Z welcome to John Cord. John is an attorney who will work with us on mass torts, medical malpractice, and auto negligence cases. He hasn’t made it to the profiles page yet, so remember you heard it here first.