Top 5 law stories of the year

A half-million-dollar verdict from January was the most-viewed legal affairs story on The Daily Record's website in 2011. Readers also flocked to stories about the legal troubles surrounding the Baltimore Grand Prix, personnel changes in the public defender's office and how the man pictured here beat his speed camera ticket thanks to a typo. The Top 5 most-viewed legal affairs stories online of 2011 are as follows: 1. Verdict: Merck owes fired employee $555K -- Jan. 14 A Baltimore jury has awarded $555,000 to a former Merck & Co. saleswoman who claimed she was fired two years ago in retaliation for reporting her supervisor’s violations of corporate policies. The panel deliberated about three hours Friday afternoon before finding in favor of Jennifer Scott, a 47-year-old Ellicott City woman who worked at Merck from 1992 to 2008. The jury of five women and three men determined Scott was owed $513,000 in back pay and $42,000 in front pay. Similar to back pay, front pay essentially is the equivalent of future lost earnings. 2. Office of the Public Defender fires five -- May 6 The Baltimore County Public Defender and the four supervising attorneys in the juvenile division of the agency’s Baltimore City office have been fired.