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Man wins $51K verdict against construction company

A Baltimore County jury has awarded a Rosedale man nearly $51,000 after he crashed his vehicle into a container placed in the street by a construction company.

Christopher J. Kelly suffered a broken hand and concussion as a result of hitting the container, which was being used by Maryland Concrete Foundations Inc. The incident happened as Kelly was leaving his home on Summit Avenue.

The jury of five women and one man last month awarded Kelly $30,000 for past and future pain and suffering and nearly $16,000 in past medical bills, among other damages, after two hours of deliberation.

Maryland Concrete was using the container as it built a foundation for another home on Summit Avenue in February 2009, according to an amended complaint. The company did not put up warning signs or lights despite complaints from neighbors, according to Milton P. Warren, Kelly’s lawyer.
“They had a brazen disregard for the safety of residents in the neighborhood,” said Warren, a Forest Hill solo practitioner, adding that a crash was “only a matter of time.”

Kelly was driving downhill and at night at the time of accident, Warren said. Another car was traveling in the opposite direction at the same time, Warren explained, meaning Kelly could not swerve to avoid the container.

Warren called experts in accident reconstruction and construction-site and light-level readings as witnesses during the two-day trial before Judge Jan M. Alexander. Maryland Concrete, he said, denied liability and gave what he called the “shoulder-shrug defense,” which he thought helped sway the jury.

“That’s what you do when you don’t have evidence,” he said.

Warren said Kelly felt “vindicated” by the verdict, particularly because Maryland Concrete had offered significantly less money in pre-trial settlement talks.

Mark J. Strong of the Law Offices of Jonathan P. Stebenne in Baltimore did not return calls seeking comment.

Kelly v. Maryland Concrete Foundations Inc.

Court:
Baltimore County Circuit

Case No.:
03C09004607

Proceeding:
Jury Trial

Judge:
Jan M. Alexander

Outcome:
Plaintiff

Award:
$50,812.60

Dates:
Incident: Feb. 6, 2009
Suit filed: April 22, 2009
Disposition: Aug. 12, 2010

Plaintiff’s Attorney:
Milton P. Warren, Forest Hill Solo practitioner

Defense Attorney:
Mark J. Strong of the Law Offices of Jonathan P. Stebenne in Baltimore

Count:
Negligence