D'Amore Personal Injury Law, LLC

Johnson vs State of Maryland


Settlement is from lawsuit that sought damages in death from high-speed police chase

ANNAPOLIS, MD—The State of Maryland and the Maryland Transportation Authority recently reached an agreement with D’Amore Personal Injury Law clients to settle a lawsuit seeking damages for negligence, gross negligence and wrongful death.

The lawsuit was filed in July 2017 in Baltimore City Circuit Court against the Maryland Transportation Authority, the agency to which the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Department belongs; several of its officers; the Maryland Department of Transportation; and Michael R. Brown of Hagerstown, Md.

The plaintiffs sought damages for the injuries of Rolanda Johnson and Verlonda Johnson-Baker and for the death of Sonjia Johnson-Baker, which occurred Dec. 11, 2015 as a result of a high-speed police chase.

The suit detailed the Maryland Transportation Authority Police’s pursuit of defendant Brown, which began on Eastern Avenue in Baltimore City and continued for nearly 14 miles reaching speeds of more than 130 miles per hour. The pursuit, which was captured on police cruiser dashboard cameras,  ended when Brown’s vehicle crossed the I-95 median and veered into southbound traffic colliding head-on with Sonjia Johnson-Baker’s car. Baker-Johnson was killed, and her two daughters were seriously injured.

The lawsuit alleged Ms. Johnson’s death and her daughter’s injuries were the direct result of the negligent and reckless high speed pursuit in which the MTA police chose to engage. During the discovery phase of the lawsuit, Plaintiffs’ attorney F. Scott Lucas uncovered evidence that MTA police had little or no probable cause to engage Brown, and zero evidence that he posed a threat to the public.  “This was a totally unnecessary high-speed chase, we found no justification for it whatsoever and we were ready to prove that at trial”, said Lucas.

Settlement of the case was complicated by Maryland laws that place limits on the damages available to plaintiffs in cases like this one.  While the total settlement amount was very close to those limits, Mr. Lucas noted that there were broader concerns that motivated his clients to bring the case.   “While my clients are pleased with the settlement, they hope law enforcement examines its pursuit laws so no other family has to endure the pain and heartache they’ve experienced since the accident. Had law enforcement considered the importance of the public’s safety and taken measures to end the pursuit sooner, the collision with Ms. Johnson-Baker would never have occurred, and two young girls would still have their mother.”


About D’Amore Personal Injury Law, LLC

D’Amore Personal Injury Law, LLC is focused on the real-life needs of people who have been catastrophically injured by the negligence of others. With more than 20 years experience, the lawyers at the firm fully commits to the client by developing a deep understanding of the clients themselves and the global impact the injury has had on their bodies, their lives and their families. More information about D’Amore Personal Injury Law can be found at https://damoreinjurylaw.com .

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