Demaria v. Target Corporation
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 10/12/2017. (sat, Chambers)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Civil Action No. DKC 15-1270
Presently pending and ready for resolution in this case is
the motion for a new trial filed by Plaintiff Laura Demaria
(ECF No. 83).
The issues have been briefed, and
the court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary.
showed Defendant Target Corporation (“Defendant”) knew about a
Defendant not liable was against the weight of the evidence and
Plaintiff should receive a new trial pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
eliminating the danger has no merit, the overwhelming weight of
the evidence demonstrates that Target’s deliberate choice to not
eliminate the danger was unreasonable.”).
Defendant does not
dispute the foreseeability of an injury but argues that its
decision was reasonable considering all relevant factors.
No. 85, at 4-5).
substantive law and choice of law rules of the state in which
the court sits.
Padco Advisors, Inc. v. Omdahl, 179 F.Supp.2d
600, 605 (D.Md. 2002) (citing Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304
applying “the substantive tort law of the state where the wrong
Maryland law applies.
Maryland law does not, however,
govern procedural rules in this court, even when jurisdiction is
conflicting federal law.
Under Maryland law, “the proprietor of a store is not an
insurer of his customers while they are on the premises,” and
“no presumption of negligence on the part of the proprietor
arises merely from showing that an injury was sustained in his
Rawls v. Hochschild, Kohn & Co., 207 Md. 113, 118-19
Even where a defendant knows of a danger and does not
eliminate it, a defendant is not liable unless allowing the
Mitchell, 334 Md. 633, 642 (1994) (“‘Even though the intervening
liable unless the defendant’s conduct has created or increased
(quoting W.P. Keeton, Prosser and Keeton on the Law of Torts §
44, at 305 (5th ed. 1984))).
In a motion for a new trial under Rule 59, a district court
must “set aside the verdict and grant a new trial if . . . the
Knussman v. Maryland, 272 F.3d 625, 639 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Atlas Food Sys. & Servs., Inc. v. Crane Nat'l Vendors, Inc., 99
F.3d 587, 594 (4th Cir. 1996).
“[O]n a motion for new trial
under Rule 59(e) a district court is permitted to weigh the
Dennis v. Columbia Colleton Med. Ctr., Inc., 290
F.3d 639, 650 (4th Cir. 2002).
“[T]he district court has a duty
to order a new trial to prevent an injustice.”
Johnson & Towers
Balt., Inc. v. Vessel Hunter, 824 F.Supp. 562, 566 (D.Md. 1992).
Procedure § 2803 (3d ed. 2017).
record or that substantial justice has not been done.’”
The decision to grant or deny a
Wilhelm v. Blue Bell, Inc., 773 F.2d 1429, 1433 (4th Cir. 1985).
Here, Plaintiff and Defendant agreed that some risk of harm
existed and that the risk was foreseeable.
(ECF No. 85, at 4)
(“Target did not dispute that it was foreseeable at the time of
the accident that a customer could place a cart onto the down
unreasonable, and Plaintiff had the burden of establishing at
trial that the risk was unreasonable by a preponderance of the
(Id. at 3-5); Kruvat v. Dickerman, 18 Md.App. 1, 3-4
Defendant acted unreasonably in designing its escalator because
Defendant could have eliminated any risk.
Defendant offered an
expert who testified that the design plan for the escalator
reflected a careful balancing of different safety concerns and
that the risk was not unreasonable because any potential fix
evidence, the jury found that the Plaintiff had not shown by a
preponderance of the evidence that the risk was unreasonable.
The jury’s decision was not against the clear weight of the
Therefore, Plaintiff’s motion is DENIED.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW
United States District Judge
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