Baltimore Civil Rights Lawyers
Since 1939, the Murphy family has been fighting for civil rights in the Baltimore area. We have seen decades of civil rights’ violations and have been fighting for justice every step of the way.
Murphy, Falcon & Murphy established their firm on the principles of justice, respect, and dignity, upholding those traits with every case we work with. If you feel you’ve been the victim of discrimination, police brutality, hate crime, or racial profiling, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Baltimore civil rights lawyers. We want to help you.
Justice Has to Start Somewhere
Founding partner Judge William “Billy” Murphy, Jr. began his crusade into law to follow in the footsteps of his father, Judge William H. Murphy, Sr. In 1939, Judge Murphy, Sr. enrolled in the University of Maryland Law School as the third African American student in attendance. At the time, the president of the school offered to pay Murphy’s tuition and expenses to Harvard in an effort to keep his campus segregated. Judge Murphy passed on the offer and received his J.D. from the school in 1946, after also serving time in World War II.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Judge Billy Murphy, Jr. received his J.D. also, and helped establish the firm Baltimore personal injury and civil rights law firm, Murphy, Falcon & Murphy. During this time, the firm has represented many different civil rights cases with tremendous results. For nearly 45 years, Murphy has been the lawyer to call for the disenfranchised in the Baltimore area.
Types of Civil Rights Violations
Civil rights protected by law include unfair treatment due to race, nationality, disability, gender, age, and religion. Discrimination of this sort can take on many different forms.
- Police brutality
- Police shootings
- Racial or religious profiling
- Hate crimes
- Unlawful arrests
- Employment discrimination
- Housing discrimination
- Discrimination in education
- Loss or termination of employment due to age
What Is a Civil Case?
Two main types of lawsuits exist: civil and criminal. A civil case often serves to provide reparation to injured victims of accidents, while a criminal case aims to convict and penalize wrongdoers. Civil lawsuits generally deal with torts (wrongful acts) or contracts. At the heart of most civil claims is negligence, or failure to take reasonable care, resulting in property damage or injuries.
To have grounds for a civil case, you need four main elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care. In an employer harassment claim, for example, the employer would owe duties of care to employees, such as providing a safe workplace environment. Duties of care will vary according to the circumstances and the relationship between the defendant and plaintiff.
- The defendant breached his/her/its duties of care to you. A breach of duty can be any action or lack thereof that falls outside the realm of duty. Breaches can take the form of negligence, recklessness, carelessness, or intent to harm.
- The defendant’s actions were the direct cause of the accident in question. For example, you would not have experienced police brutality were it not for the officer’s failure to behave appropriately on the job.
- You experienced real damages as a result. Real damages can include personal injuries, financial losses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Civil Case Examples
With more than 70 years of experience handling civil claims, our Baltimore law firm is uniquely suited to identify what is and is not grounds for a claim. No two cases are alike, but some common circumstances often lead to civil lawsuits. Our lawyers can come up with many examples of civil cases, including many that are likely comparable to yours. We know how to help each distinct client. The following are a few examples of civil cases that could arise in Baltimore:
- Breach of contract claim. A breach of contract refers to one party’s failure to uphold some term of a contract, whether written or oral. Failing to deliver goods on time, breaking a noncompete agreement, and acting against the terms of a contract are all examples of breaches.
- Tort claims, or personal injury claims, arise when one person’s negligence or recklessness causes another person’s injuries. Common civil tort claims involve car accidents, slip and fall accidents, dog attacks, elevator/escalator accidents, medical malpractice, burn injuries, and defective products.
- Discrimination claims and harassment lawsuits are forms of tort claims that deal mainly with employment laws. If an employer discriminates against an employee or job applicant based on a protected class such as race or gender, the employee could have a lawsuit. Harassing an employee until the workplace is inhospitable is another reason for a claim.
- Unlawful arrest/detainment. Police officers have a duty to respect your constitutional rights during an arrest, detainment, and questioning. Police brutality, unlawful arrest, and other infringements could result in a civil claim against the police officer if it results in harm to the individual.
If you’re unsure whether you have a civil lawsuit on your hands, contact our attorneys to find out. We’ll discuss your individual case in detail during a no-cost legal consultation. Our firm handles a wide range of civil cases in Maryland.
How to Pursue a Civil Case in 2018?
If you believe you have grounds to file a civil case against your Baltimore employer or another party, talk with an attorney as soon as you can. Acting quickly and taking the correct steps toward justice can expedite your claim and help you avoid time-consuming mistakes. Our attorneys can walk you through every step of the claims-filing process in Maryland.
If you have any questions about the following steps, don’t hesitate to contact us. Here’s how to pursue a civil case in 2018:
- Go to the hospital. Take care of your personal health if your incident involved an injury or sexual assault. Request medical care right away. Delaying care could show an insurance company that you weren’t badly injured, or give the defense the opportunity to allege that you contributed to your injuries by waiting to see a doctor. If your civil case involves personal injuries, seek medical care immediately.
- Gather evidence. For any type of civil claim to succeed, you must fulfill the burden of proof as a claimant. You will need to prove that someone else is guilty of a civil tort against you, and that that person’s actions caused you real, compensable damages. Gather evidence about your case, such as names, descriptions of events, and contact numbers. Get copies of your police reports and medical records, if applicable.
- Talk to eyewitnesses. If anyone else witnessed the event you’re referencing in your civil case, obtain written or recorded statements from them. Approach eyewitnesses as soon as possible after the incident, while the events are still fresh. Ask them what they saw, and have them sign off on their stories or verbally agree to a recorded statement. If you call the police regarding your incident, the responding officer should do this for you.
- File an insurance claim. Insurance claim reporting typically must happen within 24 hours of your incident, or else the insurance company could have grounds to deny your claim. If you need to seek benefits from an insurance company (as you would for a personal injury civil claim), call the at-fault party’s insurance company as soon as possible. Do not admit fault and do not agree to giving a recorded statement.
- Learn the law. Before you start the filing process, verify that you have grounds for a claim. Did a police officer violate your rights? Did someone else’s negligence cause a serious personal injury? Do you feel harassed or discriminated against a work? Learn as much as you can about civil rights laws and your case before proceeding with a civil claim.
- Find an attorney. Research Baltimore civil tort attorneys near you. Look for years of experience, committed and caring lawyers, great case results, and positive client testimonials. Arrange to meet with one of the attorneys to discuss your case and your options. Most firms, including Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, offer free first consultations so you can get to know your prospective lawyer.
- File your claim. Once you retain legal representation, your lawyer can help you with the rest of the filing procedures. Depending on your type of claim, you may need to file an initial complaint with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For a personal injury claim, you’ll go straight to the county small claims court to file your case. Otherwise, an attorney can file a regular civil case for you.
The claims-filing process comes with deadlines and requirements regardless of the type of claim. If the courts accept your claim, there will be a waiting period in which the defendant will have the chance to respond. A claim acceptance will lead to settlement negotiations. A denial will give you the opportunity to file a civil lawsuit against the defendant. Hiring a lawyer at any phase of the filing process can maximize your odds of a successful case and fair financial compensation.
Past Case History
Freddie Gray Settlement
Likely Judge Murphy’s highest profile case, Murphy, Falcon & Murphy defended the family of Freddie Gray. Gray, a native of Baltimore, died in April 2015 after sustaining a spinal injury while in police custody. Our firm secured a $6.4 million settlement for the family of Freddie Gray – even after the jury acquitted the police officers of guilt in Gray’s death. With the help of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the firm pushed to prevent future violence by requesting body cameras on the city’s police officers.
Our firm represented an individual who was the victim of police brutality and excessive force in New Jersey. A police officer released his K9 without justification during a routine traffic stop. The K9 attacked our client, leaving serious bite injuries on his legs. In addition, the officer placed a choke-hold on our client, resulting in a massive stroke. All of this occurred in front of the victim’s wife and two children.
Murphy, Falcon & Murphy filed claims for the victim, his wife, and each of his children. The use of excessive force by the arresting officer resulted in a settled lawsuit of $4,999,999.99. The monetary value of the settlement will help ensure our client receives the proper medical treatment he will require for the rest of his life.
Paralysis Due to Police Brutality
A client’s family came to us after learning that a family member had suffered a paralyzing neck injury that has left him a quadriplegic while in police custody. While in a holding cell, our client incited an altercation with the officer on duty. The officer responded with excessive force, which resulted in our client’s permanent paralysis.
Murphy, Falcon & Murphy defended this client, who received $44 million award for injuries and emotional distress caused during the event.
Call Your Trusted Baltimore Civil Rights Attorneys
Civil cases encompass discrimination and harassment lawsuits, estate planning, family law, landlord/tenant disputes, wrongful death claims and complaints against professionals such as doctors or attorneys.
If you were a victim of police brutality, excessive force, or other methods of discrimination call Murphy, Falcon & Murphy today. We’ll discuss your case and your rights with you for free. We’ve been fighting for civil rights for decades and have the experience and resources to help you during your case.