Scott Patrick Burns

Scott has won several important appellate cases for clients in asbestos- and construction-related litigation.

Scott is a partner in the firm's litigation department and a trial and appellate lawyer with 30 years of experience handling complex litigation in federal and state courts in Maryland and the District of Columbia.  He concentrates his practice in the defense of publicly traded and private corporations in products liability and personal injury cases.  He also represents businesses and individuals in complex business disputes, antitrust and intentional tort cases, and matters involving punitive damage claims.  He has won several important appellate cases for clients in asbestos- and construction-related litigation.

Scott has served as Maryland litigation counsel to a national pharmacy chain.  He has represented a national cable company, a national satellite television provider, a regional distributor of plumbing equipment, various manufacturers and businesses in the construction industry, the largest independent insurance brokerage in Maryland, and other companies.

 

Representative Cases

In 2018 and 2019, Scott:

  • Defended a pharmacy chain in a prescription misfill case.  Scott obtained a dismissal of the case by convincing the plaintiff's attorney that the stronger case was against the assisted living facility in which the plaintiff lived.
  • Defended a property management company in a mold-infestation case.  The company obtained summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds.  Scott successfully argued that limitations began to run at the time the plaintiffs discovered the mold, not when the plaintiffs learned the mold potentially was hazardous to their health.
  • Defended a manufacturer of automotive engine gaskets in an asbestos personal injury case.  The company obtained summary judgment after Scott demonstrated the absence of evidence to prove the plaintiff had removed any engine gaskets manufactured by the company.  He convinced the Court to reject the plaintiff's argument that evidence of sales by the company to major engine manufacturers was sufficient to survive summary judgment.
  • Defended a plumbing supply house in asbestos personal injury case.  The company obtained summary judgment when during cross examination, the plaintiff's expert witness was forced to concede that he could not testify as to whether during the relevant time period the products at issue contained asbestos.

Prior to 2018, he:

  • Defended a manufacturer of corrugated stainless steel tubing ("CSST") in a fire damage claim brought by a homebuilder.  The homebuilder alleged that to be utilized safely, the CSST needed to be properly bonded and grounded.  Scott was able to prove that the manufacturer had informed the homebuilder prior to construction of the grounding and bonding requirements.
  • Defended a building owner against a suit by a building occupant who claimed respiratory injury due to the building owner's failure to ventilate the building when applying a flooring sealant.  The building owner obtained summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff offered no expert testimony linking any chemical in the flooring sealant to her respiratory problems.
  • Defended a cable company against a suit brought by a former independent contractor.  The case was dismissed on the basis that the contractor was not registered to do business in Maryland.  At Scott’s request, the Court also handed down an injunction forcing the plaintiff to take down a website containing allegations against the defendant.
  • Defended a pharmacy chain in a personal injury case in which a woman claimed that trauma from an incident in one of the chain’s stores caused her to develop fibromyalgia.  The case went to trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court, where the pharmacy chain admitted liability but the jury returned a zero-dollar verdict after the judge threw out evidence attempting to link trauma to the plaintiff’s alleged medical condition.
  • Obtained summary judgment on numerous cases and achieved favorable settlements for manufacturers and distributors in asbestos-related cases.
  • Defended corporations in personal injury cases involving carbonless copy paper, mold, prescription misfills, benzene, vinyl chloride, ozone, and Legionnaires' disease.
  • Represented clients in property damage litigation, including cases involving EIFS and CSST, and in construction litigation.

 

Appellate Experience

Scott has extensive appellate experience.  He has authored the winning briefs in three seminal Maryland cases.

  • In ACandS, Inc. v. Godwin, 340 Md. 334, 667 A.2d 116 (1995), the Court of Appeals held that punitive damages were not recoverable against certain manufacturers and installers of asbestos products.  Since Godwin, no punitive award has been upheld in an asbestos case in Maryland.
  • In Owens-Corning v. Walatka, 125 Md. App. 313, 725 A.2d 579 (1999), he successfully argued that a plaintiff who seeks to avoid application of Maryland’s non-economic damage cap bears the burden of proving the cap’s inapplicability. This is one of only two cases where the damage cap has been applied in a Maryland asbestos case.
  • He also briefed and argued the seminal statute of repose case of Hagerstown Elderly Associates Limited Partnership v. Hagerstown Elderly Building Associates Limited Partnership, 368 Md. 351 (2002), where the Court of Appeals held that Maryland’s statute of repose applies to contractual and warranty claims for economic loss as well as to tort claims.

Additionally, in Elliott v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., No. 908, Sept. Term. 2003 (November 23, 2005) (unreported), the Court of Special Appeals upheld the entry of summary judgment in four asbestos-related personal injury claims and one wrongful death claim on limitations grounds.  He successfully argued that the plaintiffs' lung cancer claims accrued at the time of diagnosis of lung cancer, even where the plaintiffs' medical records made no mention of exposure to asbestos.

 

Leadership

Scott was a member of the executive committee of the Maryland Defense Counsel from 1995 to 2003.  He served as the 600-member organization’s president in 2001.  He is a past president of Blue Jays Unlimited, an organization that raises funds for athletics programs at The Johns Hopkins University.  He has served on the board of directors of Star & Crescent, Inc. and the Baltimore Adelphic Literary Society, Inc.  Both are affiliated with the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.  He also has served as president of both the Fathers' Club and the Sports Booster Club of Maryvale Preparatory School.  He is a founding member of the Loyola Alumni Football Merit Scholarship Fund.

Since 2012, Scott has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America ® for his Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants practice.  In 2009, he was selected by Smart CEO Magazine as one of Baltimore's "Legal Elite" based on a reader poll identifying "go-to" attorneys in Baltimore.  In 2003, he was named by Baltimore Magazine as one of Baltimore's "Top 20 Lawyers: The Next Generation."

He is AV® Peer Review Rated – the highest possible peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

 

Attorney Profile
Education
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D., 1989)
  • Johns Hopkins University (B.A., with honors, 1986)
Bar Admissions
  • State of Maryland
  • District of Columbia
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
Activities
  • Maryland Defense Counsel, Executive Committee, 1995-2003, President, 2001
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Hibernian Society of Baltimore
  • Baltimore Adelphic Literary Society, Inc., Board of Directors, 1990-present
  • Loyola Alumni Football Merit Scholarship Fund, Founder
  • Maryvale Preparatory School Sports Boosters, President, 2016-2017
  • Maryvale Preparatory School Fathers' Club, President, 2015-2016
  • Blue Jays Unlimited, Past President
  • Star & Crescent, Inc., Board of Directors, 1989-2015
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Maryland Man of the Year Candidate, 2009
  • GBC The Leadership Program, Class of 2007
  • Lawyers for College Bound, 2004