In December of 2007 the Maryland intermediate appellate court, the Court of Special Appeals, stripped away a multi-million dollar verdict and reduced it to merely $100,000 on the basis that that amount was all the plaintiff’s attorney asked for in the initial court filing, the Complaint. Actually, the attorney requested damages “in excess of $100,000.” The court held that this monetary reference prevented the collection of the verdict of nearly $2 million dollars. No doubt, this ruling will be the issue for an appeal to Maryland’s highest court, The Court of Appeals. It goes to show that the earliest involvement in a legal case must be aggressively pursued. Boilerplate language is this instance may prove to have been the Achilles’ heel of the case. A more sensitively drafted “ad damnun” clause requesting damages would have avoided this defeat. Of all the parts of a lawsuit, that clause typically receives the vaguest wording by attorneys.
I pride myself on specifying with a good deal of precision what I request in damages at the outset. The overarching mantra that applies, is "if you don’t ask for it, you will not get it."