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73 Md. L. Rev. Endnotes 1 (2013-2014)

handle is hein.journals/endnot73 and id is 1 raw text is: 











           THE DEATH OF THE COMMON LAW: JUDICIAL
     ABDICATION AND CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE IN
                             MARYLAND

                           DONALD G. GIFFORD*

INTRODUCTION

     A generation ago, singer-songwriter Don McLean sang of The
Day the Music Died.1 This summer, for many victims of negligently
inflicted injuries, July 9, 2013, marked the day that the common law
                                                                       2
process in Maryland died. In Coleman v. Soccer Association of Columbia,
the Court of Appeals of Maryland denied recovery to a twenty-year old
volunteer soccer coach who sustained multiple, severe facial fractures
when, in a moment of youthful exuberance, he jumped up and
grabbed the crossbar of a soccer goal as so many before him have
done. The jury found the defendant was negligent in failing to
properly inspect the goal, but it also found that the plaintiff was
contributorily negligent. The Court of Appeals applied the ancient
doctrine of contributory negligence, a rule followed by only three
other states and the District of Columbia,3 to totally bar the plaintiffs
recovery. In this article, I examine the Court of Appeals' rationale for



Copyright © 2013 by Donald G. Gifford.
    I Edward M. Robertson Research Professor of Law, University of Maryland Carey
School of Law; J.D., Harvard, 1976. i greatly appreciate the very helpful comments from
Chris Robinette of the Widener University School of Law, who has previously written about
the consequences of a change from contributory negligence to comparative fault, see
Christopher J. Robinette & Paul G. Shetland, Contributmy OT Compaative: Which is the
Optimal Negligence Rule?, 24 N. ILL. U. L. REV. 41 (2003), and from my Maryland colleagues
Bill Reynolds and Richard Boldt. I also thank Laura Koman and Jane Kalinina for their
research and editorial assistance. In 2004, i served as a member of the task force that
reported to the Maryland General Assembly on the issues of contributory negligence,
comparative fault, and joint and several liability. See Negligence Systems: Contributory
Negligence, Comparative Fault, and Joint and Several Liability, Maryland Department of
Legislative Services (2004).
    1. DON MCLEAN, American Pie, on AMERICAN PIE (United Artists Records 1971)
(referring to the 1959 plane crash that killed early rock legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie
Valens and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson,Jr.)).
    2. Coleman v. Soccer Ass'n of Columbia, No. 9, 2013 Md. LEXIS 460 (Md. July 9,
2013).
    3. Id. at *36 n.3 (Harrell,]., dissenting).

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