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  • Matthews v. Amberwood Associates Ltd. Partne…Matthews v. Amberwood Associates Ltd. Partnership, Inc.
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Matthews v. Amberwood Associates Ltd. Partnership, Inc.

Maryland Court of Appeals
719 A.2d 119 (1998)


Even though her lease prohibited pets, Shelley Morton kept her boyfriend’s pit bull in her apartment and sometimes chained him outside. The dog was not aggressive when Morton was present but growled and acted vicious when she wasn’t. Despite many reports of dangerous encounters, management did nothing about the dog and did not evict Morton. Morton was called away when her friend, Shanita Matthews (plaintiff), was visiting with her 16-month old son. The dog attacked and killed the baby, his mother unable to free him from its jaws. Matthews sued the owner of the apartments, Amberwood Associates Ltd. Partnership, Inc., and the management company, Monocle Management, Ltd. (defendants). The jury awarded Matthews over $5 million, but the appellate court reversed, finding the owner and management had no duty to a tenant’s social guests. Matthews appealed, arguing that the owner and management maintained control over a known, dangerous condition on the property by allowing an extremely vicious pit pull to remain despite the no-pets provision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Eldridge, J.)

Dissent (Chasanow, J.)

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