Maryland: Fraternity Death
Estate of Deceased College Student v. Phi Sigma Kappa, et al. Represented the family of college student who died following an evening of initiation at a "Bid Night" sponsored by a chapter of a national fraternity. Discovery in the case uncovered internal documents of the fraternity demonstrating that the fraternity's risk-management programs were not unilaterally working to prevent injuries or death from the misuse of alcohol during fraternity events, and that senior members of the fraternity had long-ago recommended that the fraternity go "dry" to prevent additional incidents of injury or death. Those recommendations were not adopted by the national fraternity. The national fraternity's motion to dismiss the claims against it were denied. Subsequently, the family accepted a settlement from the fraternity and numerous of its members that included economic and non-economic terms. USA TODAY covered the case, and the article can be viewed here.
Client v. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Represented college student against the fraternity in a case alleging that the defendant violently hazed him by, among other things, beating him, whipping him, and holding a heat lamp to his face to darken his skin because he was not deemed "black enough" to gain admission to the fraternity. After several days of trial, the jury entered a verdict of $375,000, compensating Client for his injuries and awarding him punitive damages against the fraternity. This case was featured in The Prince George's Journal in a political cartoon that can be viewed here. The Washington Post also covered the case, and the article can be viewed here.
Mrs. "B" v. John Doe. (Worcester County) Represented Mrs. "B" as trial counsel after she was secretly videotaped while using a private bathroom in the defendant's condominium where Mrs. "B" and her husband were vacationing. The defendant obtained (and later watched) approximately 12 minutes of videotape of Mrs. "B" as she engaged in acts of personal hygiene. Suit was filed alleging a number of civil claims, including a claim under Maryland Criminal Law Code § 3-902, which prohibits videotape surveillance of others with a prurient interest and creates a civil cause of action for victims. Despite numerous mediations and attempts to settle the matter, the defendant refused to offer a fair settlement. Defendant justified his position, in substantial part, on the grounds that the case was pending in a conservative, small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and that no jury in that jurisdiction would award (or ever had awarded) significant damages for this type of misconduct. Mrs. "B" was advised to reject defendant's settlement offer and proceed to trial. The case went to trial in January 2005 and lasted less than two days. The jury found in favor of Mrs. "B" on all counts of her complaint, awarding her $101,250 in compensatory and $200,000 in punitive damages, for a total verdict of $301,250. The verdicts were paid within thirty days. View Lawyers USA article here.
In re Ms. Doe. Ms. Doe was a freshman when she went to a dorm room with an acquaintance to socialize. Ms. Doe became extremely intoxicated and incapacitated, and her companion had sexual intercourse with her. The following day, Ms. Doe reported the college rape to local police and an investigation began. The students lived in the same dormitory building, and Ms. Doe asked the University to remove her alleged attacker from the dormitory since she regularly encountered him after the incident while going to and from her room and classes. The University did not remove the student, claiming that it would wait until the outcome of the criminal investigation or that it would assist her in moving. We intervened on behalf of the student, initiated student disciplinary proceedings, and demanded that the alleged attacker be removed from our client's dormitory based upon Title IX. Immediately thereafter, the University arranged to have the student's housing switched to another location on campus. A settlement of the disciplinary proceedings resulted in numerous changes in housing, class schedules, and other circumstances designed to allow Ms. Doe to continue attending the university without any contact with or by her alleged attacker, regardless of whether the state ever criminally prosecutes him for his actions.
Ms. Jane Doe v. Former Boyfriend. Represented Jane Doe in civil proceedings against her former boyfriend who brutally raped and tortured her after learning that she had been in a relationship with another man. Defendant was criminally prosecuted and sentenced to jail for his actions. Civil claims were brought against the defendant in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland while he remained incarcerated. Defendant filed frivolous counterclaims against Ms. Doe alleging that she had inflicted extreme emotional distress on him by engaging in sexual relations with another without telling him. A substantial six-figure settlement was reached on behalf of Ms. Doe, which also protected her from any future contact with defendant upon his release from jail.
Client v. PEPCO. Represented Client in a suit against PEPCO after Client received a deep gash across her face from defendant's guy wires. The guy wires lacked the protective covering required under the National Electric Code. Client accepted a substantial settlement prior to trial.
Clients v. Apartment Complex. Represented Client and her four children against their landlord following their unlawful eviction from their home. The family lost all of their belongings as a result of the eviction since their belongings had been put on the street while they were gone. After realizing the family had been wrongfully evicted, the landlord refused to allow them back into the apartment unless they agreed to waive any legal claims. Suit was filed, and the family agreed to a substantial settlement prior to trial.
Clients v. W. Neighborhood Association. Represented Mr. and Mrs. Client in a case arising out of a severe crush injury and below-knee amputation suffered by Mr. Client while he was volunteering at a clean up project sponsored by his neighborhood association. Client sustained these injuries when another volunteer lost control of a Skid Steer Loader and dropped its steel bucket onto Client. The firm retained three nationally-recognized experts to support Client's position that the operator of the vehicle acted negligently. The case settled in mediation for the maximum amount of available insurance coverage.