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Top 5: ‘It was a case that should never have gone to trial’

After insisting that he was a victim of police retaliation, West Baltimore boxer Deon Johnson had his attempted murder case dropped this week on the morning of the trial. That story and more in this week’s legal affairs top 5.

1. Suit against HarborView stays in court – by Brendan Kearney

In the latest development in litigation between residents in Baltimore’s HarborView tower and the property’s condominium association, a city judge has ruled that penthouse owner Paul C. Clark’s fraud lawsuit over mold and leaks in the building should be heard in court, not in arbitration.

Deciding a matter of first impression, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge John A. Howard ruled the dispute resolution provision of the condo association’s bylaws does not apply to Clark’s claims because his allegations pertain to a resale certification — that averred no building or health code violations — provided to him before the purchase. Howard bought the 27th-floor dwelling for $1.15 million from John Erickson, founder of the retirement communities that bear his name, in October 2009.

2. State drops charges against teen boxer Deon Johnson, co-defendant – by Brendan Kearney

Deon Johnson, the West Baltimore boxer who claims his Olympic dreams were derailed two years ago when Baltimore police officers knocked him off a dirt bike, won perhaps the biggest bout of his life Monday when the attempted murder case against him was dropped on the morning of trial.

“That means there’s still some very violent people out there in the community that the law enforcement authorities have yet to remove,” said J. Wyndal Gordon, Johnson’s attorney, after the brief proceeding that ended the case in Baltimore City Circuit Court. “But Deon Johnson was not, is not and never has been one of them.”

3. EEOC sues Johns Hopkins Home Care Group – by Daily Record Staff

Johns Hopkins Home Care Group Inc. has been sued by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.

The EEOC said Thursday its suit charges the Baltimore-based home health care provider violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when it fired an employee because of her disability – she was being treated for breast cancer – and because she challenged the company’s failure to accommodate her.

4. Victim can sue over Taser/gun error – by Steve Lash

A Somerset County deputy who mistook his pistol for a Taser can be sued for shooting an unarmed, fleeing suspect, a federal appeals court held on Thursday.

The full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a jury could find that Deputy Sheriff Robert Purnell’s mistake was “objectively unreasonable” because he should have realized he had grabbed a .40 caliber Glock handgun and that the man he was chasing, Frederick Henry, was not a threat.

5. Deon Johnson, charged with attempted murder, insists he’s a victim of police retaliation – by Brendan Kearney

To hear him tell the story, West Baltimore teen Deon Johnson was an up-and-coming boxer, hoping to punch his ticket to next summer’s Olympic Games in London. His boxing coach was equally optimistic, fondly recalling Johnson’s jab, his movement in the ring and his heart.

“He could’ve qualified for the 2012 Olympics. That’s how sharp he was,” said Marvin McDowell, who has seen thousands of kids come through his UMAR Boxing Program. “He was on his way, but when the incident happened, it threw him off and he just wasn’t the same person.”