Prison Litigation

On February 2, 2005, Philip E. Parker, Jr. was murdered on a Maryland Division of Corrections bus despite at least two correctional officers reportedly being within a few feet away of the attack.

Philip, who was serving a 3 1/2 year sentence, was only 20 years old when his life was abruptly taken away This was the first time in the United States that any inmate had been murdered on a prison bus. The story is sad to say the least.

Philip's family and friends have been devastated. If their loss was not bad enough, to the family and friends of young Philip, the wall of secrecy that continues to remain and the apparent continued lack of concern on the part of the Maryland Division of Corrections, is nothing short of shameful.

Philip's parents and their families have come to trust and rely on the Mastracci lawyers (both father and son) for more than 40 years.

On behalf of the family and Estate of Philip E. Parker, Jr., attorney Michael A. Mastracci enlisted the services of veteran prison litigation attorney, Samuel M. Shapiro to help find out what really happened to Philip and to do whatever could be done to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future. This case is about much more than obtaining financial compensation. With respect to protecting our clients’ verdict, we have the extreme pleasure in working with attorney Cary Hansel, one of the top appellate lawyers in Maryland. In fact, when I heard Cary argue the case the first time in the Court of Special Appeals I humbly told him that I couldn’t carry his briefcase. Like Sam, Cary is a great advocate and a good friend.

The Maryland Prison system needs closer scrutiny. The Parker case was one of the more highly publicized cases that demonstrated systemic problems that need to be addressed. There are many other injustices that occur behind the Maryland Prison walls.

The duty and responsibility to represent Philip's parents and the Estate of their son has led to a highly concentrated emphasis in handling Civil Rights cases on behalf of those who are wrongfully aggrieved while incarcerated.

This commentary was written with the approval and permission of Philip's parents, Melissa Rodriguez and Philip E. Parker, Sr.

Clients are only responsible for fees and expenses when we win your case. If there is no recovery you are not responsible for reimbursing our time, costs or expenses. When there is a financial recovery whether by trial or settlement the associated costs and expenses are deducted from the recovery. All terms and conditions of representation are be clearly spelled out in a written fee agreement once we agree to handle your case.

Metro Verdicts Monthly Volume 24 Issue 7

Notable Decisions: $18,500,000 - Jury Finds Guards Failed to Protect Inmate Who Was Murdered
Results achieved in obtaining favorable verdicts and settlements vary widely from case to case and a lawyer’s past record is no assurance that the lawyer or law firm will be successful in reaching a favorable result in any future case.

2017-2018 update: The Parker case has been winding its way thought the court system since 2006 from the Baltimore City Circuit Court to the U.S. Federal Court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, then back to Baltimore City for trial and verdict in 2011 and on appeal ever since with decisions from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the Maryland Court of Appeals and back down to the trial court on multiple occasions for post verdict issues and because of clarifications needed from the trial court as requested by the appellate courts. Currently, and finally, the Maryland Court of Appeals will hear the case in December of 2017 and the litigation should finally be concluded and hopefully the State of Maryland will finally be held accountable.

The most recent Court of Appeals decision in this case can be found here:

Cooper v. Rodriguez, 443 Md. 680, 118 A3d 829 (2015)

The upcoming argument in December 2017 will be the final decision involving only two very important issues for the court to decide.