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On the Record

The Daily Record's law news blog

Businesses suing Baltimore over riot response criticize city’s request to reconsider damage cap ruling

(JanPietruszka /

(JanPietruszka /

When Baltimore asked a federal judge to vacate a ruling and instead certify a question of law to the Maryland Court of Appeals, the city acknowledged it should have done so earlier and quoted Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.

“Wisdom too often never comes, and so no one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late,” Baltimore said in a note on the first page of the filing.

The judge had ruled that the state’s statutory damages cap did not apply to the dozens of businesses suing under the 1835 Riot Act for losses during the 2015 unrest, and it marked the first time any judge had been asked to interpret the two statutes in relation to each other.

Baltimore asks that the state’s highest court be allowed to interpret the novel question of state law. The plaintiffs were asked the join the city’s motion but had not responded by the time Baltimore filed.

In response to the motion to reconsider, the plaintiffs fired back Wednesday that “it is also axiomatic that once ‘(y)ou’ve made your bed, (you must) now lie in it,'” quoting a federal judge in Florida.

The plaintiffs argue the city wants to “improperly take a second bite at the apple” after the declaratory judgment it requested did not go its way.

“Defendant chose to request that this Court expend time and resources to consider and rule upon issues Defendant now belatedly requests to have certified,” the opposition states. “Defendant’s choice also required Plaintiffs to expend time and resources to brief the issues Defendant chose to raise with this Court. Defendant chose, Plaintiffs obliged, and this Court has ruled. Defendant must now live with its choice and this Court’s ruling.”

The judge examined the available state law and issued a “reasoned and principled ruling,” according to the plaintiffs, and reconsideration is not warranted.

The case is Chae Brothers et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore et al., 1:17-cv-01657.

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One comment

  1. I think the city of Baltimore‘s loyalty to its citizens and businesses is misplaced. Maybe there should’ve been a damage cap on the Freddie Gray settlement and that money could now be used though still not to adequately compensate but at least make an effort at compensation to the businesses rioted out of business. Capping the payout to the businesses that provide the life blood for the city of Baltimore, ludicrous and shameful

    Wallace Kleid