April 14, 2014 4th Circuit published order

Antonio v SSA Security, Inc.

Antonio and other plaintiffs sued SSA for negligence, violation of Maryland’s security guard statute and other claims arising from a series of home arsons perpetrated by an employee of SSA. The district court granted summary judgment on all claims to SSA and refused to certify a question as to the scope of the security guard statute. The panel affirmed as to negligence and certified the question. As to negligence, the panel held that there was no liability under Maryland law because Antonio and the other plaintiffs did not own or reside in the homes at the time of the arsons and SSA did not have prior notice of any emotional harm. The panel certified the question about eh scope of the statute holding the language as ambiguous as to whether it codified common law respondeat superior or created labiality for intentional tortious and criminal conduct by employees. Concluding that neither Maryland case law or legislative history or the case law of other jurisdictions resolved the ambiguity, the panel certified the question and ordered it sent to the Maryland Court of Appeals.

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