Friday, August 10, 2012
Bills to overturn a Maryland Court of Appeals decision on dog bites will get a vote in both houses, but those bills may not have enough common ground to pass as law.
The fate of the pit bull legislation before the Maryland General Assembly remains uncertain as bills in the House and Senate appear headed in different directions. The split is over strict liability for dog owners. The bill passed by the Senate Friday night in a 41-1 vote includes strict liability with a few carved out exceptions for things like provocation and trespassing. Just down the street the House Judiciary Committee spent the better part of the afternoon with four different bills that would—at least in part—return owner liability to common law standards. Sen. Joseph Getty, a Republican who represents Carroll County and northern Baltimore County, was the lone vote against the Senate bill. "[Strict liability] sets a very high …
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Kevin Dunne, the lawyer for the Solesky family, shares his thoughts on legislation taken up by Maryland's General Assembly that would overturn much of his client's verdict.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
As a Maryland attorney for the last 32 years, my practice has largely focused on cases dealing with catastrophic injuries. That practice is driven by what I would hope to be an uncontroversial belief: namely, that the cost of an injury should be borne by the person who caused it, rather than by the victim. As a result, and specifically as a result of my representation of a ten-year-old boy who was brutally mauled by a neighbor’s pit bull dog, I have recently been thrust into a heated and, at times, toxic public debate concerning the dangerousness of certain breeds of dogs. This debate has been particularly frustrating for two reasons. First, it is a debate in which the two sides do not actually disagree about the important parts. Second, …
A bill that would overturn the state's Court of Appeals decision declaring pit bulls "inherently dangerous" overcame its first hurdle Thursday by passing a Senate committee hearing 7-2.
Maryland's Senate Judicial Services Committee voted 7-2 in favor of a bill that would overturn the state's Court of Appeals decision declaring pit bulls "inherently dangerous." Senators Joseph Getty (R-District 5) and Nancy Jacobs (R- District 34) made up the minority. Despite more than two hours of testimony before the committee, Senate Bill 2 passed without amendment. The legislation would overturn the breed distinction created by April's Tracey v. Solesky ruling, which stated that "when an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous." Instead, the bill's language tightens down regulations on all dog owners by making them legally responsible for a first bite even…