Scott Patrick Burns


Scott Patrick Burns

Mr. Burns is a partner in the firm's Litigation Department and a trial and appellate lawyer with nearly 25 years of experience handling complex litigation in federal and state courts in Maryland and the District of Columbia.  He concentrates his practice in the defense of publicly traded and private corporations in products liability and personal injury cases.  He also represents businesses and individuals in complex business disputes, antitrust and intentional tort cases, and matters involving punitive damage claims.  He has won several important appellate cases for clients in asbestos- and construction-related litigation.

Mr. Burns serves as Maryland litigation counsel to a national pharmacy chain.  He represents a national cable company, a regional distributor of plumbing equipment, various manufacturers, businesses in the construction industry, the largest independent insurance brokerage in Maryland, and other companies.

Representative Cases

  • Defended a cable company against a suit brought by a former independent contractor.  The case was dismissed on the basis that the contractor was not registered to do business in Maryland.  At Mr. Burns’ request, the Court also handed down an injunction forcing the plaintiff to take down a website containing allegations against the defendant.
  • Defended a pharmacy chain in a personal injury case in which a woman claimed that trauma from an incident in one of the chain’s stores caused her to develop fibromyalgia.  The case went to trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court, where the defense admitted liability and the jury returned a zero-dollar verdict after the judge threw out evidence attempting to link trauma to the plaintiff’s alleged medical condition.
  • Achieved numerous favorable settlements for manufacturers and distributors in asbestos-related cases.
  • Successfully defended corporations in personal injury cases involving carbonless copy paper, mold, prescription misfills, benzene, vinyl chloride, and Legionnaires' disease.
  • Represented clients in property damage litigation, including cases involving EIFS and construction litigation.

Appellate Experience

Mr. Burns has extensive appellate experience.  He has authored the winning briefs in three seminal Maryland cases.

  • In ACandS, Inc. v. Godwin, 340 Md. 334, 667 A.2d 116 (1995), the Court of Appeals held that punitive damages were not recoverable against certain manufacturers of asbestos products.  Since Godwin, no punitive award has been upheld in an asbestos case in Maryland.
  • In Owens-Corning v. Walatka, 125 Md. App. 313, 725 A.2d 579 (1999), he successfully argued that a plaintiff who seeks to avoid application of Maryland’s non-economic damage cap bears the burden of proving the cap’s inapplicability. This is one of only two cases where the cap has been applied in a Maryland asbestos case.
  • He also briefed and argued the seminal statute of repose case of Hagerstown Elderly Associates Limited Partnership v. Hagerstown Elderly Building Associates Limited Partnership, 368 Md. 351 (2002), where the Court of Appeals held that Maryland’s statute of repose applies to contractual and warranty claims for economic loss as well as to tort claims.

Additionally, in Elliott v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., No. 908, Sept. Term. 2003 (November 23, 2005) (unreported), the Court of Special Appeals upheld the entry of summary judgment in four asbestos-related personal injury claims and one wrongful death claim on limitations grounds.  Mr. Burns successfully argued that the plaintiffs' lung cancer claims accrued at the time of diagnosis of lung cancer, even where the plaintiffs' medical records made no mention of exposure to asbestos.


Mr. Burns was a member of the executive committee of the Maryland Defense Counsel from 1995 to 2003.  He served as the 600-member organization’s president in 2001.  He is a past president  of Blue Jays Unlimited, an organization that raises funds for athletics programs at The Johns Hopkins University.  He is also a director of Star & Crescent, Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of Baltimore Adelphic Literary Society, Inc. Both are nonprofits affiliated with the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.

Since 2012, Mr. Burns has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America ® for his Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants practice.  In 2009, he was selected by Smart CEO Magazine as one of Baltimore's "Legal Elite" based on a reader poll identifying "go-to" attorneys in Baltimore.  In 2003, he was named by Baltimore Magazine as one of Baltimore's "Top 20 Lawyers: The Next Generation."

Mr. Burns is AV® Peer Review Rated – the highest possible peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Attorney Profile


Industries Served


  • University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D., 1989)
  • Johns Hopkins University (B.A., with honors, 1986)

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • State of Maryland

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia

  • Maryland Defense Counsel, Past President
  • DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar, -2017
  • District of Columbia Bar
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  • Baltimore Adelphic Literary Society, Inc., Board of Directors
  • Maryvale Preparatory School Sports Boosters, President, 2016-2017
  • Maryvale Preparatory School Fathers’ Club, President, 2015-2016
  • Blue Jays Unlimited, Past President
  • Star & Crescent, Inc., Board of Directors, 1989-2015
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Maryland Man of the Year Candidate, 2009
  • Maryland Defense Counsel, Past President
  • GBC Leadership Program, Class of 2007
  • Lawyers for College Bound, 2004
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