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Butler v. S & S Partnership

August 5, 2020

Plaintiff filed suit against several Defendants to recover for alleged injuries from childhood exposure to lead-based paint while living in Baltimore City.  Plaintiff designated a number of experts and also hired an environmental company to test certain residences where Plaintiff had lived as a child for lead-based paint.  No notice was provided to the Defendants regarding the testing, and accordingly, the Defendants were not present at the testing. Several Defendants filed a Motion to Strike the report of the environmental company, arguing that the Plaintiff failed to comply with the trial court’s scheduling order by failing to give notice of the testing.  Plaintiff argued that the notice was required only for those Defendants that still owned the properties in question, and that such notice was provided when Plaintiff filed the Requests for Entry Upon Land. The trial court agreed with the Defendants and excluded, among other things, the environmental report.  Plaintiff appealed and the Court of Special Appeals affirmed the trial court.  Plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeals disagreed with the lower courts, concluding that the scheduling order entitled only those Defendants who still owned the properties in question to have notice of the testing.  The Court of Appeals reasoned that the Defendants who did not own the properties could not refuse entry and that the scheduling order, in that respect, pertained only to the Defendants who currently owned the properties tested.