RELEVANT MARYLAND CIVIL PATTERN JURY INSTRUCTIONS
AT THE END OF ANY TRIAL, THE JUDGE, OR THE JURY IN A JURY TRIAL, MUST DECIDE THE FACTS AND THEN ANSWER QUESTIONS SUCH AS: WAS THERE FRAUD? WAS THERE A BREACH OF CONTRACT? WERE THERE UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE ACTS AND PRACTICES? WHAT WERE THE PLAINTIFF'S DAMAGES?
BELOW ARE LISTED SOME OF THE JURY INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING THE LAW IN A TYPICAL CONSUMER RIGHTS CASE IN MARYLAND.
Chapter One – General Instructions
The destruction of or the failure to preserve evidence by a party may give rise to an inference unfavorable to that party. If you find that the intent was to conceal the evidence, the destruction or failure to preserve must be inferred to indicate that the party believes that his or her case is weak and that he or she would not prevail if the evidence was preserved. If you find that the destruction or failure to preserve the evidence was negligent, you may, but are not required to, infer that the evidence, if preserved, would have been unfavorable to that party.
Chapter Three - Agency
Respondeat Superior — Intentional Torts
A principal or employer may be liable for the intentional actions of his or her agent, even though forbidden or done in a forbidden or criminal manner, if actions are within the scope and in furtherance of the principalŐs or employerŐs business and the harm complained of was foreseeable.
Chapter Nine - Contracts
Contract — Defined
A contract is an agreement between two or more parties creating rights or obligations.
Elements of a Contract
A contract consists of the following five elements:
(1) There must be two or more parties;
(2)The parties must have legal capacity to make the agreement;
(3)The parties must have mutually agreed to the contract;
(4)The parties must have stated with reasonable certainty what they have undertaken; and
(5)There must be consideration for the promise or promises.
Fraud in the Inducement
Fraudulent inducement means that a party has been led to enter into an agreement to his or her disadvantage as a result of deceit. Deceit means that the person entered the agreement based on the other partyŐs false representation or willful non‑disclosure of a material fact that the other party had a duty to disclose.
A fact is material if:
(1) under all of the circumstances a reasonable person would attach importance to that fact in deciding whether to enter into the agreement; or
(2) The person willfully not disclosing or making the material misrepresentation knows the other party with whom he or she is dealing probably will regard it as important in determining whether to enter into the agreement.
Effect of Applicable Statutes
A law or ordinance in effect at the time a contract was made becomes a part of the contract just as if the parties expressly included the provisions of the law or ordinance in the contract.
(1) made in order to accomplish something that was illegal or otherwise prohibited, may not be enforced.
(2) made in order to accomplish something against public policy, may not be enforced.
(3) based on an illegal consideration or an otherwise prohibited consideration, may not be enforced It is not material that some or all of the parties did not know the contract was or would be illegal.
An illegal contract may not be enforced by any party.
c. Recovery of Consideration Paid
A party to an illegal contract may not recover the consideration he or she paid to the other party unless
(1) the party was a member of the group or class intended to be protected, or
(2) the party was induced to make the contract by the fraud or duress of the other party, or
(3) the contract appeared to be legal and was illegal because of something only the other party knew, or
(4) he or she repented and canceled the contract before any part was carried out.
Oral Change, Rescission and Termination
A contract may be changed, terminated or rescinded by oral agreement. This is true even though the contract states that any change must be in writing.
A material breach by one party relieves the other party from the duty of performance. A breach is material if it affects the purpose of the contract in an important or vital way.
Inducing Breach of Contract
A party to a contract cannot recover for a breach of that contract if he or she knowingly caused the other party to commit the breach.
Ratification and Waiver
A party who made a contract because of the other partyŐs fraud, duress or undue influence or because of a mistake cannot cancel the contract after he or she, knowing of the fraud, duress or undue influence or mistake:
(1) sues to enforce the contract; or
(2)makes a new promise to perform the contract; or
(3)accepts any benefit under the contract.
Chapter ten – Damages - Generally
In the event that you find for the plaintiff on the issue of liability, then you must go on to consider the question of damages. It will be your duty to determine what, if any, award will fairly compensate the plaintiff for the losses.
The burden is on the plaintiff to prove by the preponderance of the evidence each item of damage claimed to be caused by the defendant. In considering the items of damage, you must keep in mind that your award must adequately and fairly compensate the plaintiff, but an award should not be based on guesswork.
Minimizing (Mitigating) Damages
A plaintiff has a duty to use reasonable efforts to reduce the damages, but is not required to accept the risk of additional loss or injury in these efforts.
Compensatory Damages for Tort
Without Bodily Harm
In determining damages you shall consider any expenses, mental pain and suffering, fright, nervousness, indignity, humiliation, embarrassment, and insult to which the plaintiff was subjected and which was a direct result of the defendantŐs conduct.
Punitive Damages — Generally
If you find for the plaintiff and award damages to compensate for the injuries (losses) suffered, you may go on to consider whether to make an award for punitive damages. An award of punitive damages must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.
An award for punitive damages should be:
(1) In an amount that will deter the defendant and others from similar conduct.
(2) Proportionate to the wrongfulness of the defendantŐs conduct and the defendantŐs ability to pay.
(3) But not designed to bankrupt or financially destroy a defendant.
Punitive Damages — Misrepresentation/Fraud
An award of punitive damages in this case requires that the defendant acted with a certain state of mind. If you find that the defendant actually knew the representation was false and expected the plaintiff to rely upon the representation, you may make an award for punitive damages. While an award for compensatory damages may be based upon a finding that the defendant made a representation with reckless indifference to its truth, this is not sufficient to warrant the award of punitive damages. Negligence, however gross, is not enough to award punitive damages. The defendantŐs knowledge of the falsity of the representation is the state of mind that justifies the award of punitive damages.
In an action for recovery of damages for damaged property you shall consider the following:
a. Repairable Damages
Where the plaintiffŐs damaged property can be repaired the plaintiff is entitled to recover the reasonable cost of restoring the damaged property substantially to its condition immediately before it was damaged. In addition, the plaintiff is entitled to recover for the loss of the use of the property during a reasonable period of time while it is being repaired. In those cases where the damaged property has been repaired but its fair market value nevertheless has decreased, the plaintiff may recover the difference between the fair market value of the property before the damage and after the repair.
b. Conversion, Loss or Destruction
You shall award to the plaintiff the reasonable fair market value of the property immediately before it was wrongfully taken, lost or destroyed, plus interest at the rate of (insert rate) percent a year from (insert date) until the date you return your verdict.
c. Total Loss
Where the cost of repair to the plaintiffŐs damaged property is more than its fair market value, the award to the plaintiff shall be the market value of the property before it was damaged, together with loss of use, if any.
d. Loss of Use
The measure of damages for loss of use is the reasonable rental value of comparable property.
Damages As a Remedy for Breach of Contract —
Compensatory Damages for Nonperformance
The plaintiff is entitled to be placed in the same situation as if the contract had not been broken. The damages therefore are the profits the plaintiff would have made had the contract been performed. These damages are arrived at after deducting the amount that it would have cost the plaintiff to have performed the contract.
Damages As a Remedy for Breach of Contract —
In an action for breach of contract, the plaintiff may recover those damages which naturally arise from the breaking of the contract. Those damages are the consequences of breaking the contract which the defendant had reason to foresee would take place or such damages as may reasonably be supposed to have been contemplated by both parties when they made the contract.
Damages Incurred in Reliance on or in
Preparation of Contract
A party harmed by breach of contract by another party may recover any expenses or losses incurred. This amount should be reduced by any expenditures that the breaching party can show the wronged party would have incurred if the contract had been performed.
Chapter Eleven - Deceit
Fraud or Deceit
To recover damages for deceit, it must be shown that:
(1) the defendant made a false representation of a material fact;
(2) the defendant knew of its falsity or made it with such reckless indifference to the truth that it would be reasonable to charge the defendant with knowledge of its falsity;
(3) the defendant intended that the plaintiff would act in reliance on such statements;
(4) plaintiff did justifiably rely on the representations of the defendant; and
(5) plaintiff suffered damages as a result of that reliance.
Non-Disclosure or Concealment
To recover damages for deceit it must be shown:
(1) that defendant intentionally concealed a material fact that he or she had a duty to disclose;
(2) with the intent to induce the plaintiff to act differently from how the plaintiff would have acted had he or she known the true facts;
(3) that because of the concealment the plaintiff acted in a manner different from how he or she would have acted had the plaintiff known the true facts; and
(4) plaintiff suffered damages as a result of that reliance.
False Representation — Defined
A false representation is a statement, conduct or act by which one intentionally misleads another person about a material fact.
A statement of opinion, judgment, prediction of a future event or promise may constitute false representation of a material fact.
A promise to do something may be a false representation if the person did not intend to do the promised act when the promise was made.
Material Fact — Defined
A fact is material if under the circumstances a reasonable person would rely upon it in making his or her decision.
A fact may also be material, even though a reasonable person might not regard it as important, if the person stating or concealing it knows that the person with whom he or she is dealing probably will use the fact in determining his or her course of action.
Chapter Sixteeen – Intentional Interference - Property
Interference with Personal Property —
Trespass and Conversion
When a person, without authority or permission, physically interferes with the use or enjoyment of anotherŐs personal property, the interference constitutes either a conversion or a trespass. Interference amounts to conversion when it is so serious and so important as to require the forced sale of the property to the defendant. Interference amounts to trespass when it is minor and does not result in such serious damages as to constitute a conversion. Conversion is any distinct act of ownership or dominion exerted by one person over the personal property of another in denial of his right or inconsistent with it. In determining whether interference constitutes a conversion or trespass, the following factors should be considered:
(1) the extent and duration of the interference;
(2) the defendantŐs intent to assert a right inconsistent with the plaintiffŐs right of control;
(3) the defendantŐs good faith or lack of good faith;
(4) the harm done to the personal property; and
(5) the expense and inconvenience caused to the plaintiff.
Damages — Interference with
Personal Property — Trespass and Conversion
The measure of damages for trespass to personal property is the diminished value of the property that results from damages actually sustained during the period of interference. The measure of damages for conversion of personal property is the market value at the time and place of the interference plus the legal rate of interest to the date of judgment. Additional damages may be awarded in both trespass and conversion to the extent necessary to compensate the plaintiff for the actual losses sustained.
Chapter Nineteen – Negligence – general concepts
Negligence is doing something that a person using reasonable care would not do, or not doing something that a person using reasonable care would do. Reasonable care means that caution, attention or skill a reasonable person would use under similar circumstances.
A reasonable person changes conduct according to the circumstances and the danger that is known or would be appreciated by a reasonable person. Therefore, if the foreseeable danger increases, a reasonable person acts more carefully.
Liability for Negligent Hiring
An employer has a duty not to employ any person who poses an unreasonable risk to other persons who would foreseeably come into contact with that employee because of the employment relationship.
An employer who breaches this duty is responsible for any foreseeable injuries or damages caused by the conduct or actions of any such employee.
To recover damages for negligent misrepresentation, the plaintiff must prove:
(1) the defendant, owing the plaintiff a duty of care, negligently misrepresented a material fact;
(2) the defendant intended that the plaintiff would act in reliance upon the misrepresentation;
(3) the defendant knew the plaintiff probably would rely on the misrepresentation, which if false would cause damages to the plaintiff;
(4) the plaintiff justifiably acted in reliance on the misrepresentation; and
(5) the plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the reliance on the misrepresentation.
Violation of Statute
The violation of a statute, which is a cause of plaintiffŐs injuries or damages, is evidence of negligence.
For the plaintiff to recover damages, the defendantŐs negligence must be a cause of the plaintiffŐs injury. [There may be more than one cause of an injury, that is, several negligent acts may work together. Each person whose negligent act is a cause of an injury is responsible.]
Chapter Twenty-Five - Privacy
Unreasonable Intrusion upon Seclusion
An invasion of privacy occurs when there is an intentional intrusion upon another personŐs solitude, seclusion, private affairs or concerns in a manner which would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
Appropriation of Name or Likeness
An invasion of privacy occurs when one takes, for oneŐs own use or benefit, the name or likeness of another person without that personŐs consent.
Unreasonable Publicity Given to Private Life
An invasion of privacy occurs when matters concerning the private life of another person, which are not of legitimate concern to the public, are made public without that personŐs consent and in a manner which would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
Publicity Unreasonably Placing Person in
An invasion of privacy occurs when one places another person before the public in a false light, with knowledge of or reckless disregard as to falsity, without that personŐs consent and in a manner which would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
Affirmative Defense — Privilege
A person who invades the privacy of another person is not responsible to the other person if he or she had a right to do so. (Briefly describe the privilege relied upon.)
A person does not have this right if he or she acted with malice.