Back in January, the Espina family challenged Maryland’s cap on damages when suing a local government employee. Manuel Espina was fatally shot by a Prince George’s County police officer in 2008, and as a result, a jury found that the officer acted with malice and awarded the family $11.5 million in damages. However, with the cap in place, that award was only limited to $400,000. This case had been closely watched as the Court of Appeals heard arguments and made its decision. Although Maryland’s Court of Appeals had upheld the cap on damages several times before, some thought this might be the case that would change the Court’s pattern of upholding the damages cap. Unfortunately for the Espina family, the Court of Appeals upheld the cap on damages in a 7-0 decision.
The County argued that doing away with the cap would subject the County to use taxpayer money in making payouts. That would take away substantial amounts of money from projects that would improve the County’s infrastructure. On the other hand, the Espina family’s attorneys argued that keeping the cap on damages would never deter local governments from combatting police brutality and it would not stop officers from repeated misconduct either.
With the Court’s ruling yesterday, Maryland victims suing a local county or city government will still be subjected to a cap on the amount of damages they can recover.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of the negligence of a local government employee and would like to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our attorneys for a free case evaluation, please call us at (855) 954-4141 or visit us online.