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Top 5: Comparative fault, Hopkins and UB and the LSAT

In Monday’s Maryland Lawyer this week, legal affairs reporter Danny Jacobs looked into the LSAT exam; he was also there as Johns Hopkins and the University of Baltimore School of Law announced a new partnership. Those stories and more made it to this week’s top 5:

1. Md. bill would block any shift to comparative fault – by Steve Lash

Del. Benjamin F. Kramer has introduced legislation to codify Maryland’s common-law ban on plaintiffs in personal injury cases from recovering damages if they were partially at fault.

House Bill 1129 was prompted by signs that Maryland’s top court is considering a switch to a comparative fault standard that would let plaintiffs recover when they share some of the blame for their injuries, said Kramer, D-Montgomery.

2. Hopkins, UB to open Center for Medicine and Law – by Danny Jacobs

Before Dr. Fred Levy attended law school, he viewed the law as a kind of dark side of medicine, with lawyers existing only to sue him if he made a mistake.

“Med students … are kind of afraid of it, frankly,” said Levy, an associate professor of emergency medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

A joint program announced on Tuesday between Hopkins and the University of Baltimore School of Law aims to change that perception. The Center for Medicine and Law, scheduled to open in July, will focus on how law affects health care providers in their daily work.

3. Glen Dale couple awarded $1.4M against mortgage broker – Danny Jacobs

A Glen Dale couple has been awarded $1.4 million from their former mortgage broker, whom they accused of predatory lending practices resulting in more than $40,000 in broker’s fees and $9,600 in monthly mortgage payments on two homes.

Vernon and Wanda Thompson won a judgment Wednesday against Tyrone Frisby in Prince George’s County Circuit Court that includes $1 million in punitive damages. But the Thompsons’ lawyer said the award was “bittersweet”: the default order was entered against Frisby for failing to plead, and his former employer, U.S. Mortgage & Investment Services Inc., had been dismissed from the case after its sole owner died.

4. Suit seeks $2M for man’s death at Baltimore behavioral center – by Steve Lash

The family and estate of a man killed by a fellow patient last March at Baltimore Behavioral Health Systems Inc. have filed a $2 million lawsuit against the facility, claiming it allowed the assailant to return without adequate security after telling a counselor he was “going to kill someone.”

Lee McCoy II’s son and the boy’s mother, Kathy Cornish, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday in Baltimore City Circuit Court. The complaint also contains a negligence action by the personal representative of McCoy’s estate.

5. What’s so bad about the LSAT? – by Danny Jacobs

Approximately 760 people in Maryland took the Law School Admissions Test on Saturday and Monday, the last chance for many to get scores they need to submit to law schools for admittance into the Class of 2014.

Five years from now, however, candidates for the Class of 2019 might choose not to take the test that has started the law school process for generations of lawyers. An American Bar Association committee reviewing law school accreditation standards has voted twice in straw polls essentially to remove the LSAT as a requirement.