State Officials Added As Defendants in Pit Bull Lawsuit

An October 16 Baltimore Sun article reports that an attorney who is suing over a Maryland Court of Appeals holding on pit bulls has added  Maryland officials, including the Governor, Attorney General, and Chief Judge, as defendants in the lawsuit.  Earlier this year, the Court held that pit bulls are “inherently dangerous” and that pit bull owners and their landlords are strictly liable for any injuries caused by the pit bull.  The holding has caused some landlords and housing authorities to ban pit bulls from their property.  As previously reported by Conduit Street, a General Assembly task force is attempting to craft a legislative “fix” to concerns raised by the Court’s holding.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Chief Judge Robert M. Bell are all being sued personally but within their official capacities, according to the amended complaint, which was filed Sunday night. The Court of Appeals of Maryland has also been added as a defendant.

The lawsuit says they have a duty in their official capacities to ensure laws are faithfully executed and adhere to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Maryland, and did not fulfill that duty when the appeals court made its ruling.

“We do not seek to place blame, but we are nonetheless after accountability,” said Charles H. Edwards, the attorney for the plaintiffs.



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