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NEWS
May 16, 2012
I wonder why strict liability is limited to pit bulls ("Pit bull fans schedule a rally today in Annapolis," May 15)? Blame becomes an issue only after a person is injured. If a dog is as loving and benign as most owners claim, why fear strict liability? William S. Ramsey, Columbia
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NEWS
Tim Wheeler | February 28, 2014
The Senate on Friday unanimously approved a bill to hold dog owners liable if their pet bites someone, unless they can prove they did not know it could happen. The bill, which now goes to the House, would place a "rebuttable presumption" on pet owners that they knew or should have known their dog could bite. Owners could avoid liability if they can convince a jury their animal had never bitten anyone before or shown any other vicious tendencies. The measure seeks to deal with a 2012 ruling by the Court of Appeals finding pit bulls "inherently dangerous" and holding their owners to stricter liability than those with pets of other breeds.  The bill the Senate passed treats all breeds the same.  Its passage could end a two-year deadlock with the House of Delegates over the issue, as lawmakers differed over where to draw the line in placing responsibility for bites on pet owners and landlords.  The Senate previously had insisted on holding pet owners strictly liable for any bite, while the House had held out for something similar to what the Senate approved.
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NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | August 10, 2012
The Maryland Senate passed Gov. Martin O'Malley's gambling expansion bill on a 28-14 vote Friday, sending the legislation to a more closely divided House of Delegates for a decision when the the General Assembly's special session continues into a second week Monday. Approval came in the early evening after senators spent much of the afternoon debating and defeating amendments proposed by Republicans and a conservative Democrat opponent of the key provision allowing a casino in Prince George's County.
NEWS
Tim Wheeler | February 26, 2014
If the third try's the charm, the Maryland Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill aimed at untangling for the third time an emotional controversy over dog owners' liability if their pets bite someone. The bill would reverse a Court of Appeals opinion declaring that pit bulls are "inherently dangerous", a decision that has prompted many landlords in the state to evict the dogs - or threaten to kick out their owners - to avoid potential liability if someone is bitten on the premises.
NEWS
Tim Wheeler | February 28, 2014
The Senate on Friday unanimously approved a bill to hold dog owners liable if their pet bites someone, unless they can prove they did not know it could happen. The bill, which now goes to the House, would place a "rebuttable presumption" on pet owners that they knew or should have known their dog could bite. Owners could avoid liability if they can convince a jury their animal had never bitten anyone before or shown any other vicious tendencies. The measure seeks to deal with a 2012 ruling by the Court of Appeals finding pit bulls "inherently dangerous" and holding their owners to stricter liability than those with pets of other breeds.  The bill the Senate passed treats all breeds the same.  Its passage could end a two-year deadlock with the House of Delegates over the issue, as lawmakers differed over where to draw the line in placing responsibility for bites on pet owners and landlords.  The Senate previously had insisted on holding pet owners strictly liable for any bite, while the House had held out for something similar to what the Senate approved.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | August 13, 2012
A House committee approved a much narrower version of a bill on injuries caused by dogs than the Senate passed last week, imposing a tighter liability standard for bites only in cases where the animals are running loose. The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously for the legislation Monday night and sent it to the House floor for possible action Tuesday. The legislation, one of only a handful of bills being taken up in the current special session on expanded gambling, is a reaction to a widely criticized Court of Appeals decision finding that pit bull are inherently dangerous and their owners should face a stricter liability standard than owners of other dogs when the animals bite.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | January 17, 2013
Key members of the Maryland Senate and House have reached a compromise on how to undo a Court of Appeals ruling last year that labeled pit bulls as an inherently dangerous breed. Identical bills have been introduced in both chambers to deal with the issue of who is liable when a dog bites a person, reflecting an agreement that eluded lawmakers during a special session last August. Sen. Brian Frosh, chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said the legislation would apply to all dogs, not just pit bulls, overruling the court's breed-specific decision. It would also eliminate what is known to some as the "one bite" doctrine under which a dog owner can be excused from liability if the pet has not bitten somebody else previously.
NEWS
Tim Wheeler | February 26, 2014
If the third try's the charm, the Maryland Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill aimed at untangling for the third time an emotional controversy over dog owners' liability if their pets bite someone. The bill would reverse a Court of Appeals opinion declaring that pit bulls are "inherently dangerous", a decision that has prompted many landlords in the state to evict the dogs - or threaten to kick out their owners - to avoid potential liability if someone is bitten on the premises.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 27, 2013
Maryland's pit bulls remained in peril Wednesday as two legislators clashed over a lingering House-Senate impasse on a bill that would invalidate a court decision labeling the bill as inherently dangerous. Del. Luiz R. S. Simmons took advantage of a House hearing on the Senate version of the bill to fire question after question at Sen. Brian E. Frosh, chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, over changes that panel made to a compromise the two Montgomery County Democrats struck early in this year's session.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson and Annie Linskey, The Baltimore Sun | August 6, 2012
After animal advocates protested a ruling by the state's highest court deeming all pit bulls inherently dangerous, state lawmakers now will consider a bill to overturn the decision during the special session this week. On Monday, Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chairman Brian Frosh said a circulated draft bill would make owners of any breed legally responsible for bites. In its April ruling, the Maryland Court of Appeals distinguished pit bull and pit bull mixes from other breeds, giving greater liability to dog owners and landlords who permit tenants to have them, in response to a 2007 attack on a Towson boy. The decision outraged pet owners and animal-rights groups, who say the court's decision unfairly targets dogs based on breed when such laws should be based on the dog's behavior.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, Baltimore Sun | April 11, 2013
Three days after the General Assembly ended its 2013 legislative session, there's already a call to bring lawmakers back to Annapolis for what would be their fourth special session in a two-year span. Del. Benjamin F. Kramer, a Montgomery County Democrat, wrote Gov. Martin O'Malley Thursday asking him to call a special session to resolve the issue of how to deal with an unpopular Court of Appeals ruling that pit bulls were "inherently dangerous" and that their owners and their owners' landlords could be held to a standard of "strict liability" when one of the animals bites a person.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | April 8, 2013
Senate and House negotiators reached a compromise Monday on legislation that would overturn a court decision that pit bulls are "inherently dangerous. " The Senate ratified the deal unanimously. The House will vote on it later in the day. Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he wants to read the final bill but is inclined to sign it. Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat who chaired the Senate conference committee, said the compromise would set a different standard of liability based on the age of the victim.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 27, 2013
Maryland's pit bulls remained in peril Wednesday as two legislators clashed over a lingering House-Senate impasse on a bill that would invalidate a court decision labeling the bill as inherently dangerous. Del. Luiz R. S. Simmons took advantage of a House hearing on the Senate version of the bill to fire question after question at Sen. Brian E. Frosh, chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, over changes that panel made to a compromise the two Montgomery County Democrats struck early in this year's session.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | January 17, 2013
Key members of the Maryland Senate and House have reached a compromise on how to undo a Court of Appeals ruling last year that labeled pit bulls as an inherently dangerous breed. Identical bills have been introduced in both chambers to deal with the issue of who is liable when a dog bites a person, reflecting an agreement that eluded lawmakers during a special session last August. Sen. Brian Frosh, chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said the legislation would apply to all dogs, not just pit bulls, overruling the court's breed-specific decision. It would also eliminate what is known to some as the "one bite" doctrine under which a dog owner can be excused from liability if the pet has not bitten somebody else previously.
NEWS
By Kathy Snyder | October 15, 2012
The personal injury lawyers' bar likes to try to divide the personal injury systems of the 50 United States into two different buckets — contributory negligence and comparative fault — and then make up hypothetical cases to try to portray Maryland's contributory negligence rule as unfair or antiquated. The fact is that in the 50 states, there are 50 different liability systems. The common-sense rule in Maryland is the contributory negligence rule: that if a person contributes to his or her injury, he or she cannot recover damages for that injury.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | August 13, 2012
A House committee approved a much narrower version of a bill on injuries caused by dogs than the Senate passed last week, imposing a tighter liability standard for bites only in cases where the animals are running loose. The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously for the legislation Monday night and sent it to the House floor for possible action Tuesday. The legislation, one of only a handful of bills being taken up in the current special session on expanded gambling, is a reaction to a widely criticized Court of Appeals decision finding that pit bull are inherently dangerous and their owners should face a stricter liability standard than owners of other dogs when the animals bite.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | April 8, 2013
Senate and House negotiators reached a compromise Monday on legislation that would overturn a court decision that pit bulls are "inherently dangerous. " The Senate ratified the deal unanimously. The House will vote on it later in the day. Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he wants to read the final bill but is inclined to sign it. Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat who chaired the Senate conference committee, said the compromise would set a different standard of liability based on the age of the victim.
NEWS
By Kathy Snyder | October 15, 2012
The personal injury lawyers' bar likes to try to divide the personal injury systems of the 50 United States into two different buckets — contributory negligence and comparative fault — and then make up hypothetical cases to try to portray Maryland's contributory negligence rule as unfair or antiquated. The fact is that in the 50 states, there are 50 different liability systems. The common-sense rule in Maryland is the contributory negligence rule: that if a person contributes to his or her injury, he or she cannot recover damages for that injury.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | August 10, 2012
The Maryland Senate passed Gov. Martin O'Malley's gambling expansion bill on a 28-14 vote Friday, sending the legislation to a more closely divided House of Delegates for a decision when the the General Assembly's special session continues into a second week Monday. Approval came in the early evening after senators spent much of the afternoon debating and defeating amendments proposed by Republicans and a conservative Democrat opponent of the key provision allowing a casino in Prince George's County.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson and Annie Linskey, The Baltimore Sun | August 6, 2012
After animal advocates protested a ruling by the state's highest court deeming all pit bulls inherently dangerous, state lawmakers now will consider a bill to overturn the decision during the special session this week. On Monday, Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chairman Brian Frosh said a circulated draft bill would make owners of any breed legally responsible for bites. In its April ruling, the Maryland Court of Appeals distinguished pit bull and pit bull mixes from other breeds, giving greater liability to dog owners and landlords who permit tenants to have them, in response to a 2007 attack on a Towson boy. The decision outraged pet owners and animal-rights groups, who say the court's decision unfairly targets dogs based on breed when such laws should be based on the dog's behavior.
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