Lamb v. Hopkins

492 A.2d 1297 (1985)

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Lamb v. Hopkins

Maryland Court of Appeals
492 A.2d 1297 (1985)

Facts

Russell Newcomer was arrested for armed robbery and then released on probation. While on probation, Newcomer drove while drunk, carried a firearm, and committed multiple dangerous offenses that violated his probation. Newcomer’s probation officers, including Arnold Hopkins (defendant), knew of his conduct but failed to report the conduct to the court. One day, Newcomer was driving while drunk, in violation of his probation, when he crashed his car into a car driven by Cynthia Lamb. As a result of the collision, Lamb’s five-month-old daughter became a quadriplegic. Cynthia and her husband, Alan Lamb, (the Lambs) (plaintiffs) brought suit against Hopkins on the theory that Hopkins proximately caused the daughter’s injuries by failing to take action on Newcomer’s multiple probation violations. The Lambs theorized that if the probation officers had taken the appropriate actions, then Newcomer would have been incarcerated and not free to continue driving drunk and he would not have injured their daughter. Hopkins argued that he and the other probation officers were immune from suit as public officials and that they owed no duty to the Lambs. The trial court found in favor of Hopkins. The Lambs appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cole, J.)

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