The lawsuit, brought by 70 plaintiffs, mostly small business owners, has been stuck in the courts for four years, but Thursday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Stephane Gallagher has cleared the way for the case to go in front of a jury.
The judge said the Maryland Riot Act obligates the city to protect residents and businesses during the unrest. In the ruling, she said the act requires the city to take action to prevent “theft, damage or destruction.”
“The City may ultimately be right that it acted reasonably as a matter of overall policy and prioritization, and a reasonable juror could certainly agree.
“However, a reasonable juror could also (and perhaps simultaneously) conclude that the City remains liable for the ensuing property damage arguably attributable to the ‘trade-off’ between more traditional anti-riot measures and the City’s policy decisions in April of 2015.”