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Judge Dismisses Punitive Damages Against GHI

In the secondhand smoke case, Judge Northrop dismisses punitive damages against GHI.

As the secondhand smoke case opened on Monday, in the Prince George's County Circuit Court, Michael Goecke, the associate attorney for GHI, moved that the punitive damages against Greenbelt Homes, Inc. (GHI) be dismissed.

In David Schuman's case against GHI, his housing cooperative, which claims it had failed to prohibit the nuisance created by his townhome neighbors, the Popovics', secondhand smoke, Schuman is seeking $300,000 in punitive damages plus an additional $300,000 in compensatory damages.

Schuman’s lawyer, J.P. Szymkowicz, argued against dropping the punitive damages, accusing GHI of steadfastly refusing to exercise its authority. He said GHI must protect the tenants' rights to quietly enjoy their property.

After the plaintiff's and defense's attorneys debated the matter, Judge Albert Northrop weighed in, saying "I can't find any basis for punitive damages," then dismissed the claim for punitive damages.

Goecke also moved for the judge to dismiss the negligence claim. This time, Judge Northrop did not concur and ruled that the claim will remain for further review.

JohnE August 22, 2011 at 08:38 PM
Subject: THE TRUTH FROM A PHYSICIAN JOHN DALE DUNN..HEARTLAND INSTITUTE Date: Sat, 8 Nov 2008 01:04:54 -0500 I am a Texan for 22 years, a 36 year physician, specializing in emergency medicine. I am familiar with the public health science on second hand smoke. I can say with confidence that second hand smoke may irritate some, but it does not kill. Those claiming thousands of deaths from second hand smoke to the public are deceitful for a political goal. Public Health Studies cited by the Cancer Society and the Surgeon General that claim thousands of deaths from second hand smoke are weak, cherry-picked studies. Their supporters compound their perfidy by ignoring studies by the World Health Organization (Buffetta 1998 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute), Stranges, 2006 in Archives of Internal Medicine and Enstrom 2003 in The British Medical Journal, that show no second hand smoke effect. In science, one study that disproves a scientific theory is more important than a pile of studies that are slightly positive. Anti- smoking advocates and fanatics ignore that basic rule and ignore any study they don't like. They are propagandists, not scientists.
JohnE August 22, 2011 at 08:38 PM
The crusaders are willing to do anything and say anything about second hand smoke, including making public statements about thousands of deaths from second hand smoke. Those claims are multifarious and duplicitous—they are lies. Second hand smoking, even for the spouse of a smoker is one cigarette or less per day—which has no effect. The second hand smoke scare is a phantom menace conjured up by the High Holy Church of Smoke Haters to support the anti smoking crusade... Smoking Bans violate the Ohio tradition of mind your own business. If the Ohio General Assembly thinks it has a role in telling people how to live, they should get a Divinity Degree and find a congregation. Folks in Ohio can easily avoid second hand smoke, and employment in a bar or restaurant is voluntary. Smoking is legal. Avoiding smoke is easy. John Dale Dunn MD JD Policy Advisor American Council on Science and Health, NYC, and the Heartland Institute, Chicago.
JohnE August 22, 2011 at 09:04 PM
“Heres a letter from a former cancer researcher and ACS president of new york state! Robert E. Madden MD, FACS. I am also a non-smoker­. HOWEVER I am a passionate opponent smoking bans. Most of the opposition to the smoking bans has been based upon economic factors such as loss of business revenue, even closings. My opposition is due to loss of individual freedom and abuse of scientific fact. I am a practicing chest surgeon, a teacher and a former cancer researcher­. I am also past president of the NY Cancer Society. I will not tell you that smoking is harmless and without risk, in fact one in eight hundred smokers will develop lung cancer. Asthmatics should avoid tobacco smoke. What I will say is: 1) it’s a personal choice and 2) so called second smoke (ETS) is virtually harmless. One may not like the smell but it has not been shown to cause cancer, even in bartenders­. If people do not like the odor then they may go elsewhere. Those who support the ban have no right to deny 24% of the adult population their enjoyment of a popular product based on dislike, possibly hatred of smoking. This attitude is that of a bigot, akin to anti-Semit­ism or racism.”
JohnE August 22, 2011 at 09:05 PM
To me the most offensive element of the smoking bans is the resort to science as “proving that environmen­tal smoke, second hand smoke, causes lung cancer”. Not only is this unproven but there is abundant and substantia­l evidence to the contrary. It is frustratin­g, even insulting, for a scientist like myself to hear the bloated statistics put out by the American Cancer Society (of which I am a member) and the American Lung Associatio­n used to justify what is best described as a political agenda. Smokers enjoy smoking. Most non-smoker­s are neutral. Anti-smoke­rs hate smoking. It is this last group that drives the engine of smoking bans. Smoking sections in restaurant­s, ventilated bars and the like have been satisfacto­ry and used for years. To those who choose to smoke they do so at their own risk. To those eschew smoking let them patronize establishm­ents whose owners prohibit smoking. To impose a city wide or a state wide ban is to deny people of their rights. Respectful­ly, Robert E. Madden, M.D”
Albert J. Benson August 23, 2011 at 09:41 PM
I happen to be a victim of people who smoked in my workplace. do a google search for 'SAFE Stories' to learn more about how dangerous smoking in the workplace can be to people who do not smoke. Thanks to a ban on smoking in the workplace first put in place by Los Angeles, CA, then later by the State of California, I was able to work until I retired. My SAFE story tells part of the story, which later gravitated to Myasthena Gravis. after the smoking ceased, it going into remission after 10 years. Make no mistake, second hand smoke is very dangerous. Albert J. Benson
Esther Schiller August 23, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Most health organizations agree that tobacco smoke can cause illness. It is especially dangerous when it drifts on a regular basis from one apt. or condo unit to another. The secondhand smoke will become trapped in the unit and the chemicals in the smoke will attach to walls, floors, rugs, etc. Then it will outgas back into the room. This is called third-hand smoke and studies are showing it is also dangerous. We are a small organization, not as well known as for example, the American Heart Association, but we are overwhelmed with calls from residents of multi-unit housing who are breathing a neighbor's tobacco smoke and feeling ill. It starts with headaches, eyes that burn, coughing, difficulty breathing, etc. If you are a landlord or a property manager, even if you don't believe that tobacco smoke is a health hazard and a potential liability, it is financially worthwhile to adopt no smoking policies for some or all of your units. According to an article soon to be published by the American Journal of Public Health, the cost of preparing a unit that has been smoked in for the next tenant is almost $5,000. We have an article on our website which explains how to properly clean a unit that has been smoked in and that estimate is more than $5,000. In addition, some insurance companies are now offering discounts for non-smoking buildings. Making your premises non smoking is good business. E. Schiller, Director Smokefree Apartment House Registry www.smokefreeapartments,org
Noah August 23, 2011 at 11:52 PM
the bottom line of this case is the smokers are violating the nuisance policy of the condo. they have been smoking for 15 years, and if a radio too loud is considered a nuisance, and the police can be called, then unwanted cigarette smoke IN YOUR HOME is definitely a nuisance. no one is claiming they don't have the right to smoke. but if it is invading a neighbors' home, that is infringing on their individual right to enjoy their home.
Noah August 23, 2011 at 11:59 PM
You are ignoring the central point of the case---that the cigarette smoke originating in one house, where two people are trying to exercise their individual freedoms, is infiltrating into another house, where a person is trying to excercise their individual freedom to breathe clean air. The smoking violates a nuisance policy of the condo. If a radio too loud is considered a nuisance, it is absurd that cigarette smoke is not. Forget cancer---it's causing david schumann's house to smell and causing eye and respiratory irritation, as well as lack of sleep. if your neighbor "chose" to keep rotting animals in his house, and the smell invaded your house, don't you think you'd be pissed? You love to be a smoking apologist, but put yourself in David's shoes. It's flat out wrong to infringe upon someone else's rights like that.
Noah August 23, 2011 at 11:59 PM
You are ignoring the central point of the case---that the cigarette smoke originating in one house, where two people are trying to exercise their individual freedoms, is infiltrating into another house, where a person is trying to excercise their individual freedom to breathe clean air. The smoking violates a nuisance policy of the condo. If a radio too loud is considered a nuisance, it is absurd that cigarette smoke is not. Forget cancer---it's causing david schumann's house to smell and causing eye and respiratory irritation, as well as lack of sleep. if your neighbor "chose" to keep rotting animals in his house, and the smell invaded your house, don't you think you'd be pissed? You love to be a smoking apologist, but put yourself in David's shoes. It's flat out wrong to infringe upon someone else's rights like that.
Noah August 24, 2011 at 12:00 AM
You are ignoring the central point of the case---that the cigarette smoke originating in one house, where two people are trying to exercise their individual freedoms, is infiltrating into another house, where a person is trying to excercise their individual freedom to breathe clean air. The smoking violates a nuisance policy of the condo. If a radio too loud is considered a nuisance, it is absurd that cigarette smoke is not. Forget cancer---it's causing david schumann's house to smell and causing eye and respiratory irritation, as well as lack of sleep. if your neighbor "chose" to keep rotting animals in his house, and the smell invaded your house, don't you think you'd be pissed? You love to be a smoking apologist, but put yourself in David's shoes. It's flat out wrong to infringe upon someone else's rights like that.
Magnetic August 24, 2011 at 02:34 AM
The antismoking astro-turfers have made an appearance. E. Schiller, your claims are baseless and inflammatory, as antismoking claims usually are. Using terms such as “dangerous” for secondhand smoke and now the newly concocted thirdhand “piffle”, particularly in this apartment context, is repugnant. It is such claims that promote neurosis in a growing number of nonsmokers: it is promoting mental dysfunction, bigotry, and social division. “It starts with headaches, eyes that burn, coughing, difficulty breathing, etc.” Esther, you may want to go and find out about the environmental somatization syndrome (also idiopathic environmental intolerance). What you are describing are classical anxiety/somatization symptoms. You’ll also find out that the toxic thinking your organization is propagating is how the syndrome is allowed to commence and proliferate. “… but we are overwhelmed with calls from residents of multi-unit housing who are breathing a neighbor’s tobacco smoke and feeling ill” The greater the number of calls, the greater it is to your shame. Your organization promotes mental dysfunction and bigotry. Ah! And notwithstanding “danger”, your organization has other “reasons” why smoking should be banned. You’re an antismoking activist, pure and simple. It is you who is a spreader of poisonous thinking.
Magnetic August 24, 2011 at 02:36 AM
Albert, thanks for the trip down fantasy lane. There are experiments/tests that can be conducted that can distinguish whether a person is reacting to smoke physically or whether reactions are psychologically mediated. You have obviously had no such test. There are more and more that are becoming aware of the antismoking insanity that has been inflicted on society, and with full government support. Such tests will become commonplace for people claiming SHS “harm”. “…. their individual freedom to breathe clean air” Noah, you probably don’t realize that the bulk of what’s in tobacco smoke is already in “clean air”. As fanatics usually do, you resort to incoherent analogies to advance your delusional “cause”. Some have tried to “equate” SHS with urination and defecation. One has tried to equate SHS to a tire burning. You attempt to equate it with rotting animals. This says nothing about SHS but the derangement that is the antismoking mentality. How do you appease someone who has a dysfunctional, disproportionate, inordinate view of a phenomenon? What if there was a resident that did not want to see people, the sight of them making him agitated and producing symptoms of agitation? What if he demanded that policies be instituted to ban people from particular areas to appease his dysfunctional demands? What if he didn’t want to see people of a particular race? What if a person considered low levels of noise a nuisance?
JohnE August 24, 2011 at 05:05 PM
Scientific Evidence Shows Secondhand Smoke Is No Danger Written By: Jerome Arnett, Jr., M.D. Published In: Environment & Climate News Publication Date: July 1, 2008 Publisher: http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/23399/Scientific_Evidence_Sho... myth-of-second-hand-smoke http://yourdoctorsorders.com/2009/01/the-myth-of-second-hand-smoke BS Alert: The 'third-hand smoke' hoax http://www.examiner.com/public-policy-in-louisville/bs-alert-the-third-h... The thirdhand smoke scam http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/2010/02/thirdhand-smoke-scam.html
JohnE August 24, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Your all so wrapped up in hating smokers,your losing site of commonsence! Your 3rd hand smoke drama claims are unfounded and totally junk science just as the second hand smoke claims are.
JohnE August 24, 2011 at 05:22 PM
Oddly enough, what nonsmokers exhale looks eerily similar to what smokers exhale. Carcinogens and all! Guess what is in the air that nonsmokers expire. Normal Composite Compositional Profile of Human Expired Air Acetone Isoprene Acetonitrile pTolualdehyde Toluene P,SDimethylhexane Ethyl Alcohol Acetaldehyde Dichloronitromethane 2,2,4-Trimethyl-l-pentanol n-Propyl acetate 2,2-Dimethyl-l-pentanol Cyclohexane Hexane Thiolacetic acid I-Heptanol Cyclohexyl alcohol Benzene 2-Ethyl-l-hexanone 2,3,5 Trimethylhexane Ethyl Imercaptopropionate Cycloheptatriene p-Xylene n-Butyl alcohol 3,4 Dimethylhexane Limonene Isooctyl alcohol Methyl-n-propyl sulfide. 2 – Ethyl-4-methyl-1-pentanol Neopentyl acetate Trans4nonenal n-Heptane Ethylbenzene 5-Methyl4heptanone Dimethylsulfide P-Methyl-l-pentanol pl)ichlorobenzene Trans-3-hexen-l-ol Capryl alcohol Mesitylene n-Hexylmercaptan 3,4-Dimethylheptane 2,3,3,4-Tetramethylpentane 1Chlorohexane Dichloroacetylene 2,P-Dimethyl-l-octanol 2,2,3,3 – Tetramethylhexane o-X
JohnE August 24, 2011 at 05:24 PM
Now do you think Ol Repace is gonna admit the above is what he actually measured with his 12 thousand dollar sniffer! I bet he wont.....
JohnE August 24, 2011 at 05:30 PM
The man has an air tight home according to the editorial! There is also sound proofing that can be done for noise! I gather the plaintiff is to cheap to also run his ventilation system.......it really looks as if the plaintif has been bought by the smokefree advocates to bring this case to begin with seeing as how repace and a big time ALA doctor shows up let alone a toxicologist for the defence.A simular case was in Massachusetts last year and they lost hands down! Trying to lay legal presidence in a backwater liberal town is exactly what I would expect of smokfree advocates......then its just a matter of harping the outcome if you get what you want to invade other peoples private homes like whats happening in california!
JohnE August 24, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Noah put yourself in the smokers shoes anywhere a ban has been put in place! Criminalized because of a lie that shs/ets is a danger....... Put yourself in the shoes of an obese persons,being ridiculed because your overweight,threatened to lose your kids because they maybe overweight to somebody elses standards of whats healthy! What you need to do as well as all the rest of the hypocrits out their is learn to stay out of other peoples lives and business........If your bothered by a lil smoke,your bothered by anything and says a lot about your life and disposition in general.People like you will never be happy or content.......but then this isnt about smoke,its about setting legal presidence to start suing everywhere a smoker is at......thats all it is and all it has ever been about!
Noah August 24, 2011 at 06:07 PM
John, Re: your comments above, why should it be incumbent upon the non-smoker, i.e. Schumann, who is not doing anything to nuisance his neighbor, to spend a bunch of money to ventilate and seal his home from his neighbors' actions? John, what we are really talking about here is what it means to be a neighbor in multi-unit or joined housing. The rules for stand alone, suburban housing are completely different. Your house, your property, your rules. But when you live that close to someone, the rules of the game change, because there is not 50-100 yards between your neighbors to mitigate second-hand smoke.
Noah August 24, 2011 at 07:09 PM
Dear JohnE, I would like you to directly answer this. Above, you said "learn to stay out of others' lives and buisnesses." But apparently, that doesn't apply to one's secondhand smoke entering another person's home??? So I'm supposed to "stay out of your life," but your life, your smoke, is quite alright to enter mine? I think you are the hypocrite here.

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