Plaintiff Awarded $475K In Civil Lawsuit

SNOW HILL – One of the plaintiffs in the multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against an Ocean City pizza company and the delivery driver who hit her with his car on Coastal Highway four years ago was awarded over $475,000 in damages in Worcester County Circuit Court last week, while the other plaintiff in the case, a pedestrian hit during the same accident, has his case set in for later this month.

Around 2 a.m. on Sept. 7, 2003, local resident Kevin Houck and a female friend, Danielle Glacken, of Stevensville, Md., attempted to cross Coastal Highway from west to east in the area of 93rd Street when they were struck by a vehicle driven by another local resident, Andrew Caldwell, who was employed as a delivery driver for the local Domino’s Pizza outlet. Both victims were seriously injured in the collision although they have recovered from their injuries.

In June 2006, Houck and Glacken filed a civil suit against Caldwell because he “operated his vehicle in a negligent and unsafe manner” despite the fact no traffic violations were filed against Caldwell nor did he face any charges stemming from the accident. The suit also named the pizza delivery company, Extra Cheese Inc., as a defendant for employing Caldwell.

Last week, in Glacken’s portion of the case, the court found “by preponderance of evidence” Caldwell was negligent and awarded Glacken over $475,000 in combined damages including $75,788 in medical damages, $200,000 in non-economic past damages and $200,000 in non-economic future damages. Houck’s case has followed a parallel path, but his portion of the trial will not be heard until later this month with Oct. 15-18 laid in on the docket.

The suit also named the state of Maryland, its Department of Transportation and the State Highway Administration as defendants because of alleged faulty design of the median on Coastal Highway. Glacken and Houck attempted to cross the highway just south of the marked intersection at 94th Street in a break in the median marked by bollards.

The suit against the state alleges the median design is inviting to pedestrians despite being unsafe. However, the court ruled last week during the trial on Glacken’s portion of the suit that the “area in which the plaintiff crossed was a legal crosswalk.” It is unclear if the segment of the suit against the state has been dropped, but the monetary award to Glacken last week did not hold the state or its agencies liable for any of the damages awarded to the plaintiff.