Question 1. Attorney Patty estimates that if the case goes to trial, the litigation expenses by the end of the trial will total approximately $25,000. The defense has offered to settle the case for $75,000. Do you recommend accepting the settlement offer? Why?
I do not recommend accepting the settlement offer of $75,000. Even though Officer Preston receives immunity under to Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 19-103 (West, 2019), Anne Arundel County is held liable under Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-639 (West, 2019). The county owns the emergency vehicle Officer Preston was driving and is liable for any damages caused by a negligent act of an authorized operator while operating the emergency vehicle in the performance of emergency service. The negligent act performed by Officer Preston is governed by Md. Code Ann. Transp. Code § 21-106(b)(2) (West, 2019), which requires a driver of an emergency vehicle may pass a red or stop signal, a stop sign, or a yield sign, but only after slowing down as necessary for safety. Based on the Maryland statutes above and the actual cost Ms. Harris incurred due to the accident, $75,000 is not a reasonable settlement offer. Ms. Harris will have a better chance at recouping the actual cost of her injuries if the matter is taken to trial.
Question 2A. Research and explain the jury selection process.
Md. Code Ann., Md. R. CR. § 4-312 (West, 2019) governs the following selection process. The trial judge will determine the size of the jury needed, to include alternates, and how many people will be needed for the array of qualified jurors. The entire array may be challenge before any one person is examined, if a party thinks there is an issue with the array. All prospective jurors will be selected using the same manner and examine the same way. Each party will be provided the list of jurors: their names, city of residence, zip code, age, gender, education, occupation and spouse’s occupation. The trial judge and if permitted, the respective parties will examine each juror. At this point, a specific juror can be challenged. After this point, the jury will be selected from the qualified jurors and will be sworn in. A sworn in jury member may be dismissed any time before they retire to deliberate, if the trial judge deems them unable to perform jury service.
Question 2B. Research and provide case law as to whether Gale Spring, the defense attorney, will be able to successfully strike all of the women from the jury in the upcoming trial. Why?
Gale Spring would not be able to successfully strike all of the women from the jury. Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986) instruct that the exercise of peremptory challenges on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Question 3A. Analyze and explain how Patty & Knight, LLP could collect the judgment money by comparing the different collection methods available to Patty and Knight.
Patty & Knight, LLP. could collect the judgment money by demand letter, abstract of judgement, writs of execution, receivership and wage garnishment. A demand letter demands payment in full by a certain date. Abstract of judgment places a lien on all property owned by the judgement debtor. Writs of execution are Court Orders allowing appropriate law enforcement agency to levy upon the assets of the debtor in order to satisfy a judgment. Assets of a judgment debtor are put in hands of a Court appointed receiver who ensures that the judgment is paid out of regular income of the business is called receivership. Wage garnishment is a Judicial Order to an Employer to withhold a certain amount from paycheck (Post-Trial, n.d.).
Question 3B. Analyze and determine which specific method for collecting the judgment you recommend. Why?
I recommend a demand letter followed by a Writ of Execution, if necessary. The demand letter gets your point across and gives a specific timeframe to produce the money before escalating the issue to the courts. The demand letter also keeps the situation private, where if the issue is taken to court it becomes public. If the issue needs to be escalate to court level, a writ of execution, specifically a bank levy, would be my recommendation. Since Anne Arundel County is included in the claim, along with Officer Preston, Ms. Harris would most likely be able to recoup the $900,000 issued in one collection.
Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986)
Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-639 (West, Westlaw through all legislation from the 2019 Regular Session of the General Assembly)
Md. Code Ann., Md. R. CR. § 4-312 (West, Westlaw through all legislation from the 2019 Regular Session of the General Assembly)
Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 19-103 (West, Westlaw through all legislation from the 2019 Regular Session of the General Assembly)
Md. Code Ann. Transp. Code § 21-106(b)(2) (West, Westlaw through all legislation from the 2019 Regular Session of the General Assembly)
Post-Trial. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://learn.umuc.edu/d2l/le/content/414848/viewContent/16058528/View.
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