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Quigley v. U.S – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

In Quigley v. U.S., 865 F. Supp. 2d 685 (2012), after finding that Ms. Barbosa could not rely on the notice of her co-plaintiffs to satisfy the notice requirement, the court turned to the above referenced factors to ascertain whether there was good cause for her notice failure. Id. at 692.

Ms. Barbosa argued that based on the first factor, her failure was excusable neglect. Id. at 693. She submitted an affidavit that she did not receive the police report until nine months after the accident and was therefore, unaware of the County's potential negligence until then. Id.

The U.S. District Court did not agree with these arguments. It found that there were "far too many gaps" for good cause to be found. Id.

It then discussed several questions that were not answered by Ms. Barbosa, including an explanation of why her prior counsel, who could have filed a timely notice, did not do so, and why the co-plaintiffs were able to provide timely notice with the same information available, yet she was not. Id.

Reasoning that Ms. Barbosa did not meet her burden of demonstrating good cause, the Court concluded that her claims must be dismissed for failure to comply with the notice requirement. Id. at 694.

In Quigley v. U.S., there were six individuals involved in an automobile accident that occurred due to the alleged negligence of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission ("WSSC"). The plaintiffs brought three separate lawsuits asserting claims of negligence and strict liability against WSSC and the County. Id. at 689.

The U.S. District Court consolidated all the cases. Five of the plaintiffs had provided the County with timely notice of their claims. The sixth plaintiff, Ms. Barbosa, did not. Id. at 691.

As a result, the County filed a motion to dismiss Ms. Barbosa's claims on the grounds that she failed to comply with the notice requirements. In response, Ms. Barbosa claimed that she had substantially complied because her co-plaintiffs had provided notice to the County and included the police reports which included her name. Id. at fn.1.

The U.S. District Court rejected this argument. It explained that "it does not appear that any Maryland court has yet relaxed the basic requirement that notice be delivered 'by the claimant or the representative of the claimant' or that the notice specifically refer to the claim of the plaintiff." Id. at 692.

The court continued, noting that Ms. Barbosa did have not any legal relationship with the other plaintiffs that could overcome the fact that she or an agent of hers must provide notice. Id.

It concluded that "Ms. Barbosa's attempt to piggyback on the timely efforts of others is insufficient to find compliance, substantial or otherwise, with the LGTCA." Id.