Fourth Circuit Affirms District Court’s Grant of Summary Judgment to Six Flags Confirming There Was No Negligence in the Operation of a Water Slide

A unanimous three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the US District Court for the District of Maryland’s grant of summary judgment to Six Flags.  Six Flags had been sued by a guest of its Maryland waterpark who alleged negligence in the operation of a waterslide.  The guest also sued the ride manufacturer for negligence and product liability.  Working together, counsel for Six Flags and counsel for the co-defendant were able to demonstrate that the guest’s retained expert had no sound basis nor methodology for his opinions against either of them.  The District Court granted the defense motion to exclude that expert applying well-established law to do so.  It then found that, as a matter of established law, the claim for negligence failed.  Six Flags had demonstrated conclusively that it had not deviated from the required maintenance and operational requirements at the time of the alleged injury.  Accordingly, the District Court entered summary judgment in Six Flags’ (and, on slightly different grounds, the slide manufacturer’s) favor.  The guest appealed the grant of summary judgment but did not preserve his challenge to the exclusion of his expert.  After full briefing, the Court of Appeals first found that the guest had waived the issue of the exclusion of his expert but also noted that it agreed with the District Court’s rationale and also holding there was no abuse of discretion in the exclusion of the expert.  The Court of Appeals then agreed with the District Court’s rationale and reasoning and affirmed the grant of summary judgment.  Six Flags was represented by David A. Skomba, Tamara B. Goorevitz, and Miranda D. Russell throughout the proceedings.  The case is Elkharroubi, et ux. v. Six Flags America, et al., 2022 WL 152416 (decided Jan. 18, 2022, Per  Curiam, unpublished).

F&P Welcomes Four New Associates

The last quarter of 2021 saw F&P welcome four new associates to the firm’s Baltimore and Newark offices.  We have more than 70 attorneys serving our jurisdictions throughout our seven mid-Atlantic offices. F&P looks forward to the experience and knowledge these attorneys bring to the firm.

Oleh Bilynsky joined the Delaware office and has extensive liability defense experience, practicing general liability defense, construction litigation, premises liability, and product liability. He is a member of the Delaware and Pennsylvania State Bar Associations.

Joshua Carback is a litigation associate in F&P’s Baltimore office. Josh is barred in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. Before joining the firm, he served various trial court judicial clerkships in state and federal jurisdictions. In addition to his law education, Josh participated in an overseas deployment with the International Justice Mission and a work-study at the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice.

Frank Falatko is the newest member of Baltimore’s liability team. He previously worked for Conti Fenn LLC, managing a substantial caseload of commercial contract disputes, defense of administrative complaints before the Maryland Insurance Administration, defense of automobile manufacturers, commercial lease litigation, and other litigation relating to land use, premises liability, and agency relationships.

Kara Hager joined the Delaware workers’ comp team, bringing experience in plaintiff work and insurance defense. She interned for the U.S. District Cort Judge Gregory M. Sleet and the United States’ Attorney’s Officer for the District of Delaware and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms before serving as the managing attorney for the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos.

F&P Announces 2022 Attorney Promotions

F&P is ringing in the new year by congratulating our attorneys who received a 2022 promotion, two to principal and one to counsel.  These attorneys exemplify the level of skill and professionalism that Franklin & Prokopik prides itself in and have distinguished themselves in the legal community.

Join us in applauding these members of the F&P team and thanking them for their hard work and devotion to the firm.

Scarlett Corso, principal, Baltimore

Scarlett initially joined F&P as an associate attorney in 2011.  After leaving in 2016 to gain valuable experience litigating personal injury claims on the plaintiffs’ side, and then subsequently served as in-house Counsel handling subrogation and liability defense for The Travelers Indemnity Company, she returned to the firm as Counsel in 2019. Scarlett concentrates her civil litigation practice primarily in the areas of liability defense for premises liability, trucking and transportation, and contracts, as well as liability insurance subrogation for property damage claims, focusing on electrical, fire, and water damage claims. She has taken over 15 jury trials to verdict, as well as obtained over $1,000,000.00 in recovery in her insurance subrogation practice.

Jennifer Hare, principal, Easton

Jennifer also initially joined F&P as an associate attorney in 2011.  She returned to the firm as counsel and head of our Easton office in 2019 after working as a senior staff attorney for The Hartford Affiliated Insurance Companies for six years.  Jennifer represents employers and insurers in a variety of workers’ compensation matters before the Workers’ Compensation Commission and courts throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C.  In addition, she has experience doing plaintiff work, enabling her to provide insight and knowledge into the approaches taken by both sides.

Michael Bennett, counsel, Baltimore

Mike began his legal career in 2004 as a paralegal for a small firm in Columbia, MD, and became an F&P associate in 2015.  He practices in the areas of workers’ compensation, business and corporate law, and appellate advocacy.  Mike has litigated numerous matters at the administrative and trial court levels and also briefed and argued matters at the Maryland appellate courts.

“Kudos to these hardworking, reliable, efficient, and talented attorneys.  They bring tremendous value to the F&P team, and the promotions are well-deserved!” John Handscomb, an F&P founding principal