Elkton-area man awarded $2,416 in ‘nose bite’ case
— A Cecil County Circuit Court jury has awarded an Elkton-area man more than $2,000 for the “pain and suffering” that he experienced after a political rival bit his nose during a heated argument outside an Elk Neck polling place during the June 2014 primary election, according to court records.
The six-member civil jury awarded the plaintiff, Harold McCanick, $2,416 after concluding that the defendant, Walter Rozanski, also an Elkton-area resident, had committed an “act of battery” and had acted negligently when he bit McCanick’s nose outside Elk Neck Elementary School on June 24, 2014.
It, however, also decided that “compensatory damages” were not warranted.
In addition, the jury concluded that Rozanski did not “maliciously prosecute” McCanick when he swore out a second-degree assault complaint in criminal court against McCanick shortly after the incident two and a half years ago.
The jury, which deliberated about an hour, returned its verdicts on Thursday after a two-day civil trial over which Retired Cecil County Circuit Court Judge V. Michael Whelan presided.
The civil case started in May 2015 when McCanick’s lawyer, Isaac Klein of Baltimore, filed a three-count complaint alleging assault, battery and malicious prosecution and seeking at least $450,000 in total damages. It sought “an amount greater than $75,000” each for punitive and compensatory damages per count.
On Dec. 8, the day that the civil trial was set to start, Klein amended the lawsuit to include a fourth count alleging negligence and seeking at least $75,000 in damages.
The lawsuit stemmed from an incident that occurred on June 24, 2014 outside the elementary school in Elk Neck, where McCanick was electioneering as a candidate for the Cecil County Republican Central Committee while Rozanski, who also is a Republican, was there in support of then- Cecil County Councilwoman Diana Broomell.
(Both Broomell, who was seeking a second term, and McCanick lost in their bids.)
Rozanski and McCanick had acknowledged that they had been involved in a longtime feud with each other, some of it personal, some of it political.
According to the lawsuit, Rozanski approached McCanick and a discussion concerning Rozanski “posting pictures of McCanick’s wife on Facebook” occurred.
“All of sudden, without warning, Rozanski moved closer to McCanick and lunged at McCanick and bit McCanick on the nose. McCanick grabbed his bleeding nose and stepped back,” according to the complaint.
McCanick went to the emergency room at Union Hospital in Elkton, where he received three stitches, court records show.
Rozanski went to the district court commissioner and swore out a complaint charging McCanick with second-degree assault, according to Cecil Whig archives and court records, which indicate that McCanick also swore out a complaint charging Rozanski with the same criminal offense.
On Oct. 31, 2014, after McCanick hired a lawyer, prosecutors dropped the criminal case against McCanick, court records show.
Then on Feb. 12, 2015, Rozanski received a suspended 60-day sentence after entering an Alford plea to his sole charge, seconddegree assault, during a Cecil County Circuit Court hearing. In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence while acknowledging the state possesses enough evidence to convict him at trial.
As part of the sentence, Cecil County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Keith A. Baynes ordered Rozanski to successfully complete an anger management class and to pay an unspecified sum in restitution to McCanick.