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Toms v. Calvary Assembly of God

Maryland Supreme Court
132 A.3d 866 (2016)


Facts

The Calvary Assembly of God (Church) (defendant) obtained a permit from Frederick County, Maryland to discharge fireworks. The fireworks display occurred on September 9, 2012. The display was supervised by a deputy fire marshal, and no misfires or malfunctions occurred. Andrew Toms (plaintiff) operated a dairy farm on property next to the fireworks display. The noise from the fireworks scared the cattle and caused a stampede. This resulted in the death of four cows and property damage. Toms sued the Church, alleging that the fireworks display was an abnormally dangerous activity and, therefore, that the Church was strictly liable for any damages resulting from the discharge of the fireworks. The trial court ruled for the Church, and the appellate court affirmed. Toms petitioned the Maryland Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Greene, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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