Elk­ton-area man awarded $2,416 in ‘nose bite’ case

Cecil Whig - - & - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ELK­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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.

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