Wednesday, July 10, 2013

[PRESS RELEASE] Maryland Association for Justice Reacts to Court of Appeals’ Controversial Coleman Decision

Disappointed but the fight for Justice in Maryland’s Courts continues on
On July 9, the Court of Appeals in Coleman v. Soccer Association of Columbia, et al. held that the issue of contributory negligence is a matter for the Maryland General Assembly to address and not the Court which created the doctrine. The decision was 5-2 with a strong dissent penned Judge Glenn Harrell and joined by Chief Judge Robert Bell.
Due to the near equal lobbying power of the interests on either side of the issue in Annapolis, a state of perpetual stalemate exists in the General Assembly over comparative negligence.  Our legislature has never expressly adopted or rejected contributory negligence as the public policy of Maryland, except for a few narrow situations.
Accordingly, by once more deferring to the General Assembly, the Court assured for the foreseeable future that injured Marylanders, their health insurers, the taxpayers of Maryland who fund Medicaid, and other subrogation claim holders will continue to be denied justice because of a court-created legal doctrine that lacks justification in modern society and is universally recognized as unfair.
Although it is disappointing that the Court again chose not to relegate the doctrine of contributory negligence to the history books where it rightly belongs, the Maryland Association for Justice commends the Court for the extraordinary courtesy shown to all the interested parties.  Not only did the Court accept amicus briefs from every group and individual who petitioned to be heard, the Court took the extraordinary step of inviting all amicus to participate in oral argument. So, while the Maryland Association for Justice and its members disagree with the outcome of the case, we can all agree that the Court treated the matter with the utmost seriousness and desire for a full understanding of the issues.
The Coleman decision was a setback, but the battle to achieve justice in our courts never ends. The Maryland Association for Justice continues to strive to improve the civil justice system through our efforts in Annapolis both in the General Assembly and at the Court of Appeals.
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About MAJ
Maryland Association for Justice, Inc.
(MAJ), represents more than 1,300 plaintiff and trial attorneys throughout the state of Maryland. Our mission is a dedication to improving the civil justice system through legislative advocacy and the professional development of attorneys who represent the injured. We offer our members are variety of benefits and services including continuing legal education, trial resources, publications, legislative advocacy and a rich, supportive community. For more information please visit or call (410) 872-0990.

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