September 29, 2015
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Certiorari to the Court of Special Appeals (Circuit Court for
Baltimore City. Case No. 24-C-11-002394). Marcus Z. Shar,
BY William R. Phelan, Jr., Chief Solicitor (George A. Nilson,
City Solicitor, Jeffrey Hochstetler, Assistant City
Solicitor, Baltimore City Department of Law of Baltimore, MD)
on brief FOR PETITIONER/CROSS RESPONDENT.
BY William H. Murphy, Jr. and Andrew K. O'Connell (Edward
R. Cardona, Murphy, Falcon & Murphy of Baltimore, MD) on
brief FOR RESPONDENT/CROSS-PETITIONER.
Brief of Medical Mutual Liability Society of Maryland and
MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, Mitchell Y.
Mirviss, Esquire Venable LLP, Rockville, MD.
of Amicus Curiae Maryland Defense Counsel, Inc., Gardner M.
Duvall, Esquire, Danielle G. Marcus, Esquire, Peter W.
Sheehan, Esquire, Whiteford Taylor & Preston, L.L.P.,
C.J., Battaglia, Greene, Adkins, McDonald, Harrell, Glenn T.,
Jr. (Retired, Specially Assigned), Cathell, Dale R.,
(Retired, Specially Assigned), JJ.
Md. 56] Harrell, J.
tragic case arose out of a motor vehicle collision between a
Baltimore City police cruiser and a privately-owned
motorcycle, resulting in the death of the motorcyclist.
Respondent Connie Holloway-Johnson, on her own behalf and as
the personal representative of the estate of her deceased
son, Haines E. Holloway-Lilliston, initiated a wrongful death
suit against, among others, Petitioner, Timothy Everett
Beall, a Baltimore City police officer. The complaint, filed
in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, alleged negligence,
gross negligence, battery, and a violation of Article 24 of
the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Compensatory and punitive
damages were sought.
trial, Petitioner made a Motion for Judgment at the close of
the Plaintiffs' case-in-chief. The Circuit Court (Hon.
Marcus Z. Shar, presiding) granted the motion in part,
allowing to go to the jury only the question of whether
Officer Beall was negligent and, if so, what amount of
compensatory damages should be awarded. The jury returned a
substantial verdict for compensatory damages for Respondent,
which amount was reduced subsequently by the trial judge, on
Petitioner's motion, to $200,000 to comply with the
damages " cap" of the Local Government Tort Claims
Act (" LGTCA" ), Maryland Code (1974, 2013 Repl.
Vol.), Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, § 5-301,
et seq. (" CJP" ).
appealed to the Court of Special Appeals, which reversed the
judgment in a reported opinion and remanded the case for a
new trial. We granted Petitioner's Petition for a Writ of
Certiorari to consider multiple questions regarding the
partial grant of the Motion for Judgment, the availability
for the jury to consider
an award of punitive damages, and the applicability of the
Md. 57] THE EVIDENCE ADMITTED DURING PLAINTIFFS'
July 2010, Officer Timothy Beall was on duty in a marked
police car in Baltimore City working the midnight patrol
shift in the Northern District. He overheard a call on his
radio from an off-duty officer about a Mercedes convertible
and a motorcycle " chasing each other or racing each
other" at about 100 miles per hour (m.p.h.) on
Interstate 83 North (also known as the Jones Falls
Expressway) in Baltimore City. A second transmission related
that other officers were able to stop the car but not the
Beall, who was near the I-83 interchange with Cold Spring
Lane at the time of the second transmission, turned onto I-83
North to see if he could " observe the motorcycle."
As he was merging onto the Interstate, he noticed a
motorcycle on I-83 northbound that was traveling at the time
about 35 m.p.h. in a 50 m.p.h. zone. Unable to determine
whether this was the same motorcycle as the one involved in
the reported chase/race, Officer Beall followed the
motorcycle in an attempt to ascertain license plate
information. At approximately I-83 North's interchange
with the Northern Parkway, the motorcycle sped-up to about 75
m.p.h., a speed in excess of the posted limit. Officer Beall
noted that " [i]nitially I didn't have much reason
to suspect that [the motorcycle] was stolen. But once the
motorcyclist fled, that heightened my suspicion based on the
extremely high rate of stolen motorcycles in the City of
Baltimore that the bike may be stolen." After the
operator of the motorcycle " popped a wheelie,"
Officer Beall turned on his siren and lights to pursue the
Md. 58] The pursuit continued, at speeds of 75 m.p.h., onto
the inner loop of Interstate 695 East (the Baltimore Beltway)
in the direction of Towson. At the Charles Street
interchange, the speed of the motorcycle reduced to the
posted speed limit of 50 m.p.h. As Officer Beall trailed
the motorcycle, he received intermittent messages over his
car's police radio. The messages were intermittent due to
reception problems along portions of the route. Officer Beall
denied hearing an initial direct radio order from his Shift
Commander to discontinue pursuit of the motorcycle; he
acknowledged, however, that he was advised indirectly
thereafter to disengage from the pursuit after he was on
I-695 East into Baltimore County. His Shift Commander stated
over the radio " Yeah, have the officer disregard and
come back, notify the state police of [the
motorcyclist's] location, the radio is going to die
out soon, if there are repeaters out there, so just come on
back." Officer Beall responded to this by stating "
10-4" (meaning " acknowledged" ), turning off
his lights and his siren, and planning to turn back to
Baltimore City. At this time, Officer Beall called the State
Police from his cell phone to inform them of his position and
that he had followed a motorcycle from Baltimore City onto
Beall followed the motorcycle onto the exit ramp for Dulaney
Valley Road. He explained that he chose this exit, rather
than the closer Lutherville/Timonium exit, because "
[t]he next exit [he] was familiar with was Dulaney Valley
Road to go south, which [would take him] right down to
Northern Parkway from York Road." On the exit ramp, the
motorcyclist reduced his speed to between 31 and 33 m.p.h.
[446 Md. 59] Officer Beall was traveling at about 40 m.p.h.
The police cruiser made contact with the motorcycle. The
motorcyclist, later identified as Holloway-Lilliston, was
ejected from the bike. His body made contact with the hood of
Officer Beall's car. He died upon hitting the pavement.
State Police Sergeant Jon McGee, an expert witness in
accident reconstruction, offered his opinion about how the
So based off all the evidence, it's my opinion that there
was contact between the two vehicles, and at that time Mr.
Holloway[-Lilliston], based on that contact, the bike would
have went out from Mr. Holloway[-Lilliston]. When he came
down, he came down on the hood of the police car. My initial
assessment on the scene was that the speeds of both vehicles
were low. I estimated probably the police maybe 40. And I
knew the speed differential between the two vehicles, because
there was no inward crush damage to the bumper, was
significantly low, maybe 5 to 10, 15 mile an hour speed
difference, with the police car obviously going slightly
faster than the motorcycle. Based off of where the initial
tire marks and scratch marks of where the motorcycle went
down and the location of where Mr. Holloway[-Lilliston] fell
to the road and slid to final rest, and the damage associated
with the front hood of the police car, it's my opinion
that there was contact. Mr. Holloway[-Lilliston] fell onto
the top of the police car, rolled off the left side. Based on
the helmet damage, the circumference of the helmet, there
were scratches pretty much the entire circumference [446 Md.
60] of the helmet, landed head first as he rolled off the
hood and slid to final rest.
McGee concluded that " Officer Beall failed to maintain
a safe and proper following distance when he collided into
the rear of the motorcycle driven by Mr.
April 2011, Holloway-Lilliston's mother, Connie
Holloway-Johnson, filed a complaint against Officer Timothy
Beall and the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City in the
Circuit Court for Baltimore City. The complaint alleged
negligence, gross negligence, battery, and a violation of
Article 24 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Ms.
Holloway-Johnson sought compensatory and punitive damages in
the sum of $20 million. Prior to trial, she dismissed
voluntarily her claims against the City and proceeded to a
jury trial against Officer Beall.
case was tried between 24 July 2012 and 3 August 2012. At the
close of the Plaintiffs' case, Officer Beall made a
Motion for Judgment on the basis that insufficient evidence
was presented as to each of the claims. Judge Shar granted
Officer Beall's motion as to the battery, gross
negligence, and Article 24 claims, as well as the prayer for
punitive damages. The only claims that were allowed to go to
the jury were the negligence claim and the prayer for
compensatory damages. On 3 August 2012, the jury returned a
verdict in favor of Ms. Holloway-Johnson and the estate of
her son for $3,505,000. On 20 August 2012, Officer Beall
filed a Motion for a New Trial or to Revise the Judgment by
reducing the verdict to conform to the damages "
cap" in the Local Government Tort Claims Act (LGTCA).
The Circuit Court reduced the judgment to $200,000, in
accordance with the LGTCA. Ms. Holloway-Johnson appealed
timely to the Court of Special Appeals.
Court of Special Appeals held, in a reported opinion, that
there was sufficient evidence for each of Ms.
Holloway-Johnson's claims to have been submitted to the
jury and that it was error for the Circuit Court to have
granted Officer Beall's Motion for Judgment.
Additionally, the intermediate appellate court determined
that, although the evidence adduced [446 Md. 61] would not
justify under the gross negligence count an award of punitive
damages, the battery and Article 24 counts could qualify as
" predicates for punitive damages" under a theory
of " malice implicit" in the elements of each cause
of action. Holloway-Johnson v. Beall, 220 Md.App.
195, 227, 103 A.3d 720, 739 (2014). The Court held that the
applicability of the LGTCA (which was not raised until
Officer Beall's post-verdict motion) and its cap on
damages was a " furiously contested moot question,"
concluding that, under the provisions of the LGTCA, any
potential cap on damages could not be waived by Officer Beall
as to his local government employer, who would be liable for
the judgment (up to the limit of the LGTCA " cap"
March 2015, we granted a writ of certiorari,
Holloway-Johnson v. Beall, 442 Md. 194, 112 A.3d 373
(2015), to consider five questions (posed by the parties in
their respective petitions), which we reorganize and condense
1) Did the Court of Special Appeals modify improperly
established standards to conclude that there was sufficient
[446 Md. 62] evidence to support the counts for gross
negligence, battery, and a violation of Article 24?
2) Did the Court of Special Appeals err when it held that
Respondent's counts could support an award of punitive
damages, contrary to the long-established law that actual,
not implied, malice was necessary and remanding the case for
further proceedings which might result also in the award of
duplicative compensatory damages?
3) Did Officer Beall waive the damages cap and judgment
avoidance afforded by the Local Government Tort Claims Act,
having failed to raise the defense until after trial and
entry of judgment?
we agree with the Court of Special Appeals as to the
sufficiency of the evidence as to the counts for which the
trial court gave judgment in favor of Officer Beall at the
close of Ms. Holloway-Johnson's case-in-chief and on the
LGTCA question, we reverse ...