The Maryland Chamber filed an amicus brief this week asking the Maryland Court of Appeals to maintain our state’s longstanding defense of contributory negligence in the case of Coleman v. Soccer Association of Columbia, et al. The contributory negligence standard, the law of Maryland for more than 160 years, encourages personal responsibility by ensuring that persons will not recover damages from another party when they have, through their own actions, contributed to their own injury.
Coleman asks the Court to replace the common law doctrine of contributory negligence with a standard of comparative fault, which would enable a person to recover some damages from another person even though they have, through their own actions, contributed to their own injury. The Maryland Chamber has long opposed shifting to a standard of comparative fault because it would increase lawsuits and liability against businesses and make our state less competitive with neighboring states. Our brief urges the Court to maintain the contributory negligence doctrine in light of prior court decisions, repeated actions of the General Assembly in rejecting comparative fault proposals, and the legal and economic disruption that would result from a judicial shift to a standard of comparative fault.