Howard Week

August 08, 2004

Hotel is not liable in teenager's death, Judge Dudley rules

A Howard County judge last week tossed out a lawsuit seeking to hold a Columbia hotel accountable for the January 2001 shooting death of a teenager who attended a party there, saying the hotel was not obliged to protect the revelers from "unforeseeable criminal acts by a third party."

The ruling, issued by Howard Circuit Judge James B. Dudley late last month, marked a second setback in efforts to hold someone culpable for the violent death of Long Reach High School senior Andre D. Corinaldi, 18. A Jessup man who had been charged in the shooting was acquitted of murder and other counts after an eight-day jury trial in September 2001.

But a lawyer for Corinaldi's parents - who sued the Courtyard by Marriott hotel and its parent company, Marriott International, after their son's death - said the case against the hotel, with its peculiar set of facts and questions about the duty of care that innkeepers owe their guests, is prime for appeal. A notice of appeal to Maryland's intermediate appellate court was filed Aug. 2.

Woodbine man, 18, charged in shooting of girl, 16

Howard County police have filed charges against an 18-year-old Woodbine man accused of accidentally shooting a 16-year-old girl with a pistol he removed from his father's safe, according to court documents.

Benjamin Mark Allen was charged with reckless endangerment and discharging a .22- caliber revolver in the July 6 incident, which injured Katie L. Weyer of Dayton.

Weyer and two other teenagers were visiting Allen's home in the 800 block of Iron Rail Court for a pool party.

The shooting followed an unsuccessful attempt to concoct homemade explosives to blow up a bleach bottle in a field behind the house, the documents said.

Allen was served with charging papers July 19, police said. The case is scheduled for trial Sept. 9 in Howard District Court.

Weyer, who was immediately taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, remains a patient there, according to her mother, Susan Weyer.

State-county panel to help select social services chief

With four Baltimore-area jurisdictions seeking new social service directors, state and Howard County leaders agreed to a committee approach that state Human Resources Secretary Christopher J. McCabe said he hopes will become a statewide model.

A joint state-county committee will review candidates and suggest two or three finalists, McCabe said - similar to a Baltimore County group created last week for the same purpose. New directors also are being sought in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County.

Howard County Executive James N. Robey said he was furious that he had not been consulted when McCabe named an interim Howard director to replace Sam Marshall, who has retired. Robey said he changed his tack during a meeting last week with McCabe, a former Howard County state senator, in Ellicott City.

Robey and McCabe agreed that their 40-minute meeting was amicable.

Robey said he wants finalists selected within 30 days.

Rouse moves ahead on plan for land near Merriweather

Thwarted in its attempt to build a residential development behind Merriweather Post Pavilion, the Rouse Co. is moving ahead with plans for a commercial complex of offices and stores on land that includes the parking area for one of the region's most popular concert venues.

Rouse wants to sell the Columbia amphitheater and favors it being converted into a year-round enclosed concert hall.

The company has filed a request with the county to assign a designated use to the 51 acres and has indicated that the development would include 800,000 square feet of office space and 400,000 square feet of retail space.

The county Planning Board is scheduled to review the proposal Sept 16.

Rouse filed the application in February, a month after the county Zoning Board denied the company's petition for a high-density development that would have added 1,600 residences in an attempt to create an urban atmosphere for Columbia's Town Center.

Rouse has appealed the decision to Howard County Circuit Court, but it is unclear whether the company is still interested in this residential development.

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