Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

June 2009 Archives

Supreme Court 2008 Term-Some Interesting Facts and Figures

Each year, various organizations tally up a variety of facts and figures related to decisions of the Supreme Court. This year is no different, although some of the figures are surprising. We wish to attribute the following information to, which is an excellent resource for following events at the Supreme Court.

The "Rescue Doctrine" - A Little Known Legal Concept

In Wagner v. International Railway, 232 N.Y. 176, 133 N.E. 437 (1921), the learned jurist Benjamin Cardozo first espoused that "danger invites rescue." Many state appellate courts have since followed this principle of law and hold that a rescuer who suffers injuries during an attempt to rescue a person who is placed in a position of peril as the result of the negligence of another may recover from that person all damages sustained during the rescue.

Wrongful Death Beneficiaries--Who May Recover and for What?

The right to recover for the wrongful death of a loved one is a right created by the legislature and not by the courts through common law precedent. Under the Maryland Wrongful Death Act, Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code Ann. § 3-901, et seq. (2009), the following persons are entitled to recover for the death of a relative:

Prominent Baltimore Attorney Disbarred Over $1,000 Check

Last week, the Court of Appeals of Maryland disbarred Michael U. Gisriel, a well known real estate lawyer who hosted a talk show, and was a past member of the Maryland House of Delegates. This was considered "breaking news" by the Daily Record, Maryland's legal newspaper. The facts of the case are interesting for several reasons and can be read at the Maryland Judiciary website.

New Waive of Option Arm Mortgage Resets Will Test Banking System in 2009-2011

You may have heard the folks in D.C. mention that the worse in the economy seems to be over. You may also know that a great number of the mortgage loans that went into default that caused the current crisis have now traveled through the system. Foreclosures remain high, but the government bail out of big banks such as Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, and insurer AIG have stemmed further significant negative economic impact caused by the first wave of mortgage defaults that began in late 2007.

The Three Branches of the Government Respond to the Foreclosure and Economic Crisis

On June 12, 2009, for the first time in two hundred years in Maryland, all three branches of Government came together with practitioners at the annual Maryland State Bar Association Law Conference in Ocean City, Maryland for a unique and historic gathering to report on what their branch of government has been doing in response to the foreclosure crisis and to share ideas of how we all can participate during this difficult economic condition. Sponsored by the Consumer Bankruptcy Section of the Maryland State Bar, speakers from all branches presented materials, opinions, procedures and predictions regarding the current crisis. The speakers were: Hon. Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland; Hon. Duncan W. Keir, Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland; Hon. Doyle Nieman, Maryland House of Delegates (House Environmental Affairs Committee); Samuel J. Gerdano, Executive Director of the American Bankruptcy Institute; Phillip Robinson, Esq., Civil Justice, Inc.; Gerard R. Vetter, Esq., Chapter 13 Trustee (Baltimore Div.), Legal and Legislative Committee of the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees; Anne C. Ogletree, Esq., Rules Committee; Secretary Thomas Perez; and Hon. Alan Wilner, Associate Judge (Retired), Court of Appeals of Maryland.

Frederick County Firefighter Trainee Death Case Settled for $300,000

The County of Frederick has agreed to pay $300,000 to the family of a firefighter trainee who died from heatstroke after an outdoor workout in July 2002 at the Public Safety Training Center in Frederick. In addition to the financial settlement, the County has agreed to place a plaque in memory of Andrew Waybright, the trainee who died. The $3 million lawsuit had alleged that the County failed to recognize the symptoms of hyperthermia and failed to timely administer first aid. According to allegations within the suit, Mr. Waybright's body temperature upon arrival at the hospital was 107.4 degrees. The case was set for a two week jury trial in August of this year.

Court of Appeals of Maryland Decides Important Case on Proximate Cause

On June, 12, 2009, Maryland's top court rendered a decision in Pittway Corporation, et al. and The Ryland Group v. Stephon Collins, et al., No. 128, September Term, 2007. See Maryland Judiciary Website at The case is important for its discussion of the difference between what are known as "intervening" and "superceding" acts of negligence in cases involving multiple defendants where each acted negligently at different times but where there is only one injury. Determining the extent to which a defendant's acts are so far removed in time and place from subsequent acts of negligence by other defendants so as to relieve an earlier defendant of liability is a difficult task for any court or jury to determine. The instant case was no different in the degree of complexity of the legal analysis, yet it provides an excellent review of the different types of "causation" issues that a case like this presents and makes clear that trial court judges must usually consider the unique facts of the case before reaching decisions on intervening and superceding acts of negligence which may relieve early defendants of liability.

Statutes of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases

Every jurisdiction in the United States has established deadlines within which lawsuits must be filed for different types of causes of action. Maryland has a somewhat complicated method for determining when the statute of limitations "accrues" or begins and when it expires. Knowledge of these unique deadlines will make the difference between a viable cause of action and one that is barred by expiration of limitations, which is a devastating consequence of inaction.

Proof of Guilt in Negligence Case Can Be Proven by Circumstantial Evidence

In some unfortunate motor vehicle accidents, the at-fault driver leaves the scene. Sometimes the departure is inadvertent or with the intention of returning after retrieving a license or driving around the block to avoid creating more hazardous conditions on the roadway.

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