Joseph Greenwald & Laake Blog

Posted on Fri, 2016-10-28 08:30 by Matthew J. Focht in Personal Injury

Maryland and the District of Columbia, along with Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama, continue to adhere to the minority rule of tort causation known as “contributory negligence.”  “Contributory negligence, if proved, is a complete defense that bars a plaintiff’s recovery in a negligence action.” Warsham v. Muscatello, Inc., 985 A.2d 156, 167 n. 10 (Md. App. 2009). Contributory negligence has been defined traditionally as the failure on the part of the plaintiff to observe ordinary care for [his or her] own safety. Kasten Construction Co. v. Evans, 273 A.2d 90, 92 (Md. 1971); Menish v. Polinger Co., 356 A.2d 233, 236 (Md. 1976). At its heart, contributory negligence is “the doing of something that a person of ordinary prudence would not do, or the failure to do something that a person of ordinary prudence would do under the circumstances.” Potts v. Armour & Co., 39 A.2d 552, 556 (Md. 1944). “Contributory negligence, if present, defeats recovery because it is a proximate cause of the accident; otherwise, the negligence is not contributory.” Batten v. Michel, 292 A.2d 707, 711-12 (Md. App. 1972).  In other words, if the plaintiff contributes even slightly (even by so little as 1%) to the happening of his or her injury, he or she is absolutely barred from recovery.

“The burden of proving contributory negligence is on the defendant.” Reiser v. Abramson, 286 A.2d 91, 93 (Md. 1972). It is important to stress that “[i]t is not every action on the part of a litigant which an opponent by way of ‘second guessing’ or hindsight may successfully label as contributory negligence.” Rogers v. Frush, 262 A.2d 549, 552 (1970).  “[I]n measuring contributory negligence, the standard of care to be used as the criterion is that of an ordinarily prudent person under the same or similar circumstances, not that of a very cautious person.” Menish, 356 A.2d at 236.

Posted on Tue, 2016-09-27 16:31 by Jay P. Holland in Civil Rights


A complaint that our firm has just filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland tells a powerful and appalling story of the abuse of an American citizen, convicted of no crime, at the hands of employees of PTS of America, Inc., a Nashville-based private company that is in the business of transporting prisoners and detainees.

Posted on Thu, 2016-08-18 13:07 by Jerry D Miller in Business Law

Significant economic indicators continue to support the proposition that new business startup activity is on the rise.  On August 4, 2016, the Kauffman Foundation released the 2016 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, its highly respected annual report which focuses on new business creation. 

According to the Index, entrepreneurship in the United States rose for the second year in a row in 2015.  This a mere two years after the index plunged to its lowest level in two decades.

The foundation noted, in a development of particular significance, that more new businesses are being started out of desire as opposed to need. 

Posted on Wed, 2016-08-17 15:36 by Andrew E. Greenwald in Medical Malpractice

I am Andrew E. Greenwald, partner at Joseph Greenwald & Laake, and am a former chair of the American Association for Justice Birth Trauma Litigation Group. I have given over 100 lectures to trial lawyers and other groups and have recovered $1 million or more in over 50 cases for victims of medical negligence. I am dedicated to serving victims of medical negligence, and much of my practice is devoted to just that.

People who suffer injuries or death from improper medical treatment can, in many instances, file a lawsuit against a physician, hospital or other provider for medical negligence. Here are some of the basics about medical negligence.

Posted on Thu, 2016-08-11 13:19 by Matthew J. Focht in

The era of autonomous (aka “driverless”) vehicles has arrived and with it will come unprecedented changes in tort and insurance law. 

Posted on Thu, 2016-08-04 14:44 by Jay P. Holland in







Jay P. Holland, a principal in the Firm’s Civil Litigation Group and chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment, and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice, was quoted on July 25, 2016, in an article in Law360 concerning the National Basketball Association’s decision to relocate its 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte, N.C. The NBA took that action in opposition to the state’s new law that restricts transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.

Posted on Tue, 2016-08-02 21:42 by David Bulitt in

In most contested matters, mediation should be considered as an option in resolving even the most complicated divorces. Mediation is generally less emotionally wrenching for the people involved than a trial, can be substantially less expensive, and helps to keep family secrets out of the public eye when it may be important to do so. When a divorce case reaches the courtroom, the future of the entire family, not just the parents, is at stake.  Mediation allows people to resolve issues amongst themselves, not leave those decisions to a stranger - decisions that are likely to affect the lives of the entire family for much if not all of their lives.  Whether the issues be financial or parental, there can be serious risks involved in letting a judge decide the ownership of high-valued family assets or parents’ child custody and visitation rights.

Posted on Mon, 2016-08-01 20:55 by Andrew E. Greenwald in


Handling vacuum extraction cases requires an understanding of the use of the instrument and the consequences of its misuse.  After discussing the warnings to physicians and midwives, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and other literature, practical information and suggestions, including deposition excerpts, for representing those who may be injured will follow.


Posted on Thu, 2016-07-14 13:39 by Rama Taib-Lopez in

This is Part II of a 2-part series on common issues and challenges military servicemembers and their spouses face during a divorce.  Click here to read Part I on jurisdiction, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and calculating military income for spousal or child support issues.

Part II

  1. Will Military Retirement Pay be Divided, and if so, how?

One of the biggest issues you can encounter is the division of your or your spouse’s military retirement pay.  The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) governs military retirement pay and provides the state courts the authority to divide a servicemember’s military retirement pay in a divorce.   

Posted on Thu, 2016-07-14 10:17 by Andrew E. Greenwald in

Andrew Greenwald's 2 Part Blog Series "Vacuum Extration Dangers and Consequences" begins here.

Part 1 Of Blog Series: Vacuum Delivery Warnings & Possible Consequences

Handling vacuum extraction cases requires an understanding of the use of the instrument and the consequences of its misuse.  After discussing the warnings to physicians and midwives, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and other literature, practical information and suggestions, including deposition excerpts, for representing those who may be injured will follow.



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