What is an Empty Chair defense? It is a strategy used by the defendant to shift the blame of personal injury to the plaintiff to a missing third-party that is not a party to the case. The Empty Chair refers to this missing third party.
Here’s an example; you are shopping for your groceries inside a supermarket. Just as you are about to come out through the door, you stumble upon a large crate of drinks, fall and receive significant injuries. You then bring a claim against the supermarket for the damages incurred and the supermarket, in its defense shifts the blame upon the distributor of the drinks saying their employee left the crate of drinks on the door without their knowledge. They are using the empty chair defense.
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has recently held that defendants in all such cases must produce “expert testimony, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the non-party breached the standard of care.” Else, the empty chair defense will not stand.