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Update: MD Legislature Introduces Bill to Quash Comparative Negligence Debate

Not long after the Court of Appeals asked whether it could do away with the contributory negligence defense by making a rule change, Del. Benjamin F. Kramer introduced House Bill 1129, entitled "Maryland Contributory Negligence Act," which would make the contributory negligence defense part of Maryland’s statutes.

In our February 15 post we informed business owners that the Court of Appeals had asked its rules committee whether it could adopt comparative negligence, a plaintiff-friendly doctrine, by rule change. This inquiry caused many in the business community, and Del. Kramer, to consider the potentially harsh consequences to businesses if the law is changed and comparative negligence is adopted.

If passed into law, House Bill 1129 would effectively eliminate the possibility that the Court of Appeals could adopt comparative negligence by way of rule change. In an interview with the Daily Record, Del. Kramer stated that if Maryland adopts comparative negligence, it would cause an increase in lawsuits filed against businesses and an increase in insurance premiums. See the full Daily Record story on House Bill 1129 here.

The bill is scheduled for a committee hearing on March 2 at 1:00 p.m. – you can track the bill's status here.