In one of the largest verdicts ever in Baltimore, a jury awarded $34.3 million in damages to 23 people who were permanently injured from carbon monoxide poisoning when the toxic gas was released at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in 2008.

The verdict followed a 13-week trial and two days of deliberations by the jury, which awarded damages for negligence, public nuisance and battery against two defendants. They were  MJ Harbor Hotel LLC, which operates the hotel where the incident took place, the Pier V, and the hotel’s owner, TPOB Pier 5 LLC.   

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse wasn’t a defendant in the lawsuit.

In a press release plaintiffs’ attorney William Murphy, Jr., speaking on behalf of co-counsel, Mary McNamara-Koch, Richard Falcon and A. Donald Discepolo, said, “We are proud to have brought justice and compensation to our injured clients and their families with this verdict. This preventable tragedy will forever impact their lives but hopefully this award will help to ease the pain and lessen the burden on them as they try to rebuild their lives.”

Baltimore City firefighters who responded to the scene testified that the carbon monoxide levels in the restaurant were the highest that they had seen in their careers. The carbon monoxide release caused the complete evacuation of the restaurant and hotel lobby at the Pier V complex Feb. 2, 2008.


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