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Dog-bite liability bill fails in special session

ANNAPOLIS — A measure that Maryland lawmakers hoped would address liability concerns relating to a court ruling on dog bites by pit bulls died Wednesday morning in the General Assembly’s special session on gambling.

The House of Delegates and Senate could not reconcile differences between the two chambers.

Lawmakers wanted to change the law to address liability concerns over a breed-specific court ruling by Maryland’s Court of Appeals, which determined pit bulls to be “inherently dangerous.”

The ruling in the case of Tracey v. Solesky means that in an attack involving a pit bull, plaintiffs in civil lawsuits don’t have to prove the animal’s prior violent behavior for the owner to be held liable for damages. The ruling also means landlords can be held liable in dog-bite cases on their property.

The failure to pass the bill means the court’s ruling will stand.