Court Holds Neighbor Should Have Known Fire Risk of Cigarette Butts

June 6, 2019

Maryland’s second-highest court has upheld a $1.3 million judgment against the Steamfitters Union, saying it knew or should have known cigarette butts tossed in mulch could cause a fire that would harm neighbors.

The Daily Record of Baltimore reports that the Court of Special Appeals ruled 2-1 last week to uphold a jury’s ruling involving the facility in Capitol Heights.

The court said the jury concluded correctly that the local union owed a duty to neighboring property owners to prevent the foreseeable fire. The fire in April 2015 that spread to Gordon Contractors Inc.’s and Falco Industries Inc.’s properties resulted from cigarette butts dropped in mulch.

One judge dissented, ruling that many cigarette butts didn’t ignite the mulch, showing the Steamfitters wouldn’t have known about the potential for a fire.

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