Espina v. JacksonAnnotate this Case
This case arose out of the fatal shooting of Manuel Espina by Prince George’s County police officer Steven Jackson. Petitioners, Espina’s estate and family, filed suit against Respondents, Jackson and the County, alleging survival and wrongful death claims, as well as a claim on behalf of Espina’s son for a violation of his constitutional rights arising out of his treatment and arrest following Espina’s death. A jury returned a verdict against Respondents in the amount of $11,505,000. The trial court, looking to the Local Government Tort Claims Act’s (LGTCA) limits on liability, reduced the judgment entered against the County to $405,000 but left intact the full jury award as to Jackson. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the judgment in part and reduced the award entered against the County to $400,000. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the LGTCA, where applicable, limits the damages recoverable against a local government for violations of the state constitution; (2) applying the LGTCA damages cap to Petitioners’ constitutional tort claims violated neither Article 19 nor the supremacy of the state Constitution; and (3) the Court of Appeals correctly reduced Petitioners’ wrongful death and survivorship actions to an “individual claim” under the LGTCA.