Van Dusen, a Chevy Chase Landlord, was charged criminally with 15 counts of being a peeping Tom, having prurient intent and other charges. To avoid trial, he pleaded guilty to three counts of “visual surveillance with prurient intent.”
The judgment, in a companion civil suit, wrapped up in Montgomery County Circuit Court last week. Donna McBride and Diane Feuerherd of Miller, Miller & Canby represented a former female tenant and the tenant’s boyfriend who had been filmed by Van Dusen. The civil suit sought punitive and compensatory damages.
After trial the two plaintiffs — a 28-year-old woman and her then-boyfriend — were awarded more than $600,000 in compensatory damages. The jury also awarded $400,000 in punitive damages.
Donna explained that one of her clients became increasingly more suspicious of Van Dusen after reading a magazine article about landlords who spied on their tenants. She eventually investigated and found a camera disguised as a smoke detector in her bedroom.
Following a four day trial, the jury awarded everything that the plaintiffs asked for as compensatory damages. In addition, Donna sought and received an award of punitive damages resulting in a total damage award of more than $1,000,000.
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Donna McBride, an AV-rated partner in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation practice, is a native and lifelong resident of Montgomery County. In her two decades of practice, she has tried hundreds of lawsuits throughout the state of Maryland and in the District of Columbia, approximately 100 of which were jury trials. Her trial practice is diverse and extensive. Earlier in her career, she concentrated her practice in personal injury matters and continues to represent both plaintiffs and defendants in such cases. More recently, she has played leading roles in complex commercial disputes for large corporate clients and in other areas such as employment disputes, insurance related litigation, zoning and land use matters and in trust litigation. Additionally, she has been appointed numerous times by the Court as a trustee, assisting in presenting sound options for disposition or allocation of trust property when parties involved are going through a separation or divorce. All her areas of practice concentration have involved difficult and novel issues that her extensive courtroom experience enables her to navigate with success.
In addition to her extensive background as a trial lawyer and her new appointment to the Rules Committee, Donna is a co-chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Judicial Selections Committee, serves on the Character Committee for the Court of Appeals, and is a member of the Montgomery Inn of Court and volunteers as a mediator for the District Court. She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association. Tap into her litigation and trial experience by contacting Donna McBride.
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