Friday, December 29, 2006

Wilbon v. Hunsicker (Ct. of Special Appeals)

Decided December 29, 2006 – Opinion by Judge Patrick L. Woodward.

Plaintiff brought suit against two police officers alleging battery, false arrest and imprisonment, gross negligence, negligence, and violation of Articles 24 and 26 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Defendants responded with a motion to dismiss where they argued that plaintiff had not complied with the notice requirement of the Local Government Tort Claims Act ("LGTCA"). Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-304. The court denied this motion, as well as defendants' later attempts, by motions for summary judgment and a post-trial motion, to have the case dismissed for lack of compliance with the LGTCA. The jury awarded compensatory damages after which both sides appealed.


Plaintiff did not strictly or substantially comply with the notice requirement under the LGTCA and the trial court abused its discretion when it determined that plaintiff demonstrated good cause to justify a waiver of the notice requirement.

Complaint filed with the Civilian Review Board alleging misconduct of police officers does not meet the statutory requirement of LGTCA because the complaint was not a claim for damages or a notice of intent to file suit.

Notice of an intention to file suit to the Maryland State Treasurer, the Comptroller of the Treasury, and Commissioner of the Baltimore County Police Department, filed outside of the 180 day time requirement for the filing of the notice did not meet the statutory notice requirement of LGTCA.

Where plaintiff filed a complaint of alleged police misconduct with the CRB within four days of the alleged misconduct death, but failed to give notice to the City Solicitor of a tort claim arising out of that misconduct within 180 days and did not provide a sufficient explanation for such failure, the trial judge's finding of good cause under the LGTCA falls outside of the broad limits of a trial court’s discretion.

Full opinion available in Word Perfect and PDF.

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