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Blue v. Arrington

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

January 30, 2015

STINYARD A. BLUE
v.
ANTONIO ARRINGTON

Page 603

For Appellant: Leslie L. Gladstone of Baltimore, MD.

For Appellee: Kurt Heinrich, Chief Solicitor, Melodie H. Hengerer (George A. Nilson, City Solicitor, Baltimore City Department of Law on the brief) all of Baltimore, MD.

Krauser, C.J., Hotten, Kenney, James A., III (Retired, Specially Assigned), JJ.

OPINION

Page 604

[221 Md.App. 312] Krauser, C.J.

Appellant Stinyard Blue, an employee of Baltimore City, was injured by a fellow employee, appellee Antonio Arrington, while both men were acting within the scope of their Baltimore [221 Md.App. 313] City employment. After receiving workers' compensation for his injuries, Blue brought a negligence action against Arrington, in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, for the same injuries. In response, Baltimore City filed, on Arrington's behalf,[1] a motion to dismiss, relying on a provision of the Local Government Tort Claims Act (" LGTCA" ), which prohibits a local government employee from suing " a fellow employee for tortious acts or omissions committed within the scope of employment," if the injury sustained by the local government employee is " compensable under the Maryland Workers' Compensation Act." Md. Code (1973, 2013 Repl. Vol.), § 5-302(c) of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article (" CJP" ). The grant of that motion by the Baltimore City circuit court prompted this appeal, in which Blue presents three questions for our review:

I. Does CJP § 5-302(c) of the LGTCA, by prohibiting local government employees from suing their co-employees individually for tortious acts or omissions committed within the scope of their employment, violate the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution and Article 24 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights?

Page 605

II. Does CJP § 5-302(c) of the LGTCA violate Article 19 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights by denying him a remedy?
III. Does CJP § 5-302(c) of the LGTCA create a valid exception to Maryland Code (1991, 2008 Repl. Vol.), § 9-902(c) of the Labor and Employment Article (" LE" ), which generally allows an employee to bring a third-party suit against a co-employee?

[221 Md.App. 314] Because we conclude that CJP § 5-302(c) does not violate Blue's equal protection rights or Article 19 of the Declaration of Rights by unreasonably restricting access to the courts and because Blue presented no argument in his brief supporting his contention that CJP § 5-302(c) is " ambiguous" when read in the context of the " larger statutory scheme embodied" in LE § 9-902(c), we affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

On July 5, 2011, Blue and Arrington were working for Baltimore City. On that day, Blue was performing his duties as a " Seasonal Maintenance Aide" on a garbage truck. In that capacity, he was " side mounted" on the outside of the garbage truck that Arrington was driving. " [W]hile talking on a cell phone," Arrington " attempted to make a turn," crushing Blue's " legs and abdomen between a fence and a brick wall," as he clung to the side of the truck. Following that accident, Blue filed a claim, under the Maryland Worker's Compensation Act, for ...


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