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University of Baltimore Law Forum

Abstract

The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that the damages cap of the Local Government Tort Claims Act (“LGTCA”) limits a local government’s liability for damages caused by an employee’s tortious act in violation of the state constitution. Espina v. Jackson, 442 Md. 311, 317, 112 A.3d 442, 446 (2015). The court also held that this limitation does not contradict the supremacy of the state constitution. Id. at 335, 112 A.3d at 456. Furthermore, the court held the LGTCA damages cap is not an unreasonable restriction on the right to remedy under Article 19 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Id. at 344- 45, 112 A.3d at 462. The court clarified that a local government is liable for its employee’s torts committed during the scope of employment, and employees are also liable for their torts if the employee acted with actual malice. Id. at 344, 346-67, 112 A.3d at 462-64. Finally, the court held wrongful death actions arising from the same underlying conduct are properly aggregated for determining damages.

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