This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
§ 3-904(a) should be identified in the complaint — even if they are unwilling to participate.4


What Can Be Recovered — and How Much?


Under the Act, all beneficiaries are en- titled to recover pecuniary losses resulting from the death of the decedent. Stewart v. United Elec. Light & Power Co., 104 Md. 332, 65 A. 49 (1906) (“The injury for which the equitable plaintiffs are compen-


4


These procedures replace the former prac- tice, where the State stood as the plaintiff, to the use of a class of equitable plaintiffs. This aspect of wrongful death actions raises


interesting questions that defy easy resolu- tion. What, if any, additional responsibility does counsel have to protect the interests of a use plaintiff? To what extent may an unco- operative statutory beneficiary be compelled to participate against his or her will? How should the participation of a use plaintiff be handled at trial? And in the absence of a re- tainer agreement, to what extent must a use plaintiff compensate counsel for work that confers a common benefit?


sated is the pecuniary loss sustained by reason of the death of the person through the wrongful act, neglect, or default of the defendant”). Pecuniary damages include lost income and services that the benefi- ciary reasonably could have expected to have received from the decedent. Caro- lina Freight Carriers Corp. v. Keane, 311 Md. 335, 339-40, 534 A.2d 1337, 1339- 40 (1988); Baltimore & O. R.R. v. State to use of Hauer, 60 Md. 449, (1883) (“the damages to be allowed for the injury sus- tained should be a compensation to the family of the deceased, or those entitled, equivalent to the pecuniary benefits which they might have reasonably expected from the continuance of his life”). The jury must reduce any award for future pecu- niary damages to present value. Sun Cab Co. v. Walston, 15 Md. App. 113, 128-


5


Prior to October 1, 1997, only primary ben- eficiaries identified in § 3-904(d) were au- thorized to recover solatium damages. Re- grettably, the syntax of § 3-904(e) renders the entitlement of all primary beneficiaries to solatium damages somewhat difficult to decipher. Under § 3-904(d), solatium dam- ages are authorized for the death of a spouse,


29, 289 A.2d 804, 813 (1972), aff ’d, 267 Md. 559, 575, 298 A.2d 391, 400 (1973). See Lewin Realty III, Inc. v. Brooks, 138 Md. App. 244, 297-98, 771 A.2d 446, 477 (2001) (discussing burdens of proof and production of evidence applicable to reduction of future economic losses to present value), aff ’d on other grounds, 378 Md. 70, 835 A.2d 616 (2003). Additionally, § 3-904(d) and (e) per- mit primary beneficiaries — spouses, parents and children — to recover dam- ages for “mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companion- ship, comfort, protection, marital care, parental care, filial care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance, or educa- tion.”5


Although these “solatium


damages” are not reduced to present value, they may be subject to Maryland’s cap on


a minor child, the parent of a minor child, or certain adult children. Under § 3-904(e), solatium damages are authorized for the deaths of all other children and all other par- ents. Taking both subsections together, all pri- mary beneficiaries are entitled to solatium damages.


Spring 2006


Trial Reporter


29


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52