In a decision that means there is no legal recovery for slips and falls at the area’s Metro stations, the Maryland Court of Appeals has held that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is entitled to immunity from tort claims – lawsuits — arising out of its maintenance decisions. The court’s ruling stemmed from slip and falls on wet floors suffered by two women while using the popular Metro subway transportation system.
Veronica Tinsley and Kim Hodge separately filed negligence actions in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County after they were both injured when using the subway. Tinsley said in her lawsuit that she was severely injured after slipping and falling on a floor that was wet because it was recently cleaned. Hodge said she suffered injuries when she slipped and fell on a floor that was wet because other passengers had tracked snow into the station.
Both women achieved five-figure money damage verdicts from their juries. However, the same day the jury ruled for Hodge, the Court of Special Appeals ruled for WMATA in the appeal of Tinsley’s lawsuit. The intermediate appellate court said Tinsley’s lawsuit was barred by sovereign immunity. Because of the ruling by the appellate court, WMATA attorneys were able to get the favorable award for Hodge set aside. When the two cases came before the state’s top court, Maryland’s Court of Appeals agreed with the intermediate appellate court.