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  • May 26, 2017

Supreme Court Considers Expanding Religious Liberties

The United States Supreme Court seems primed to decide a case that could dramatically alter long-standing jurisprudence concerning the constitutional prohibition against the establishment of religion.   It heard arguments in April 2017 in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, when the questions and comments from the Justices seemed to favor a major decision in favor of religious freedom. Trinity Lutheran Church is in Columbia, Missouri.  It operates a licensed preschool and daycare center on church premises.  The preschool and daycare have an open admission policy, meaning that there is no preference shown based on a family’s religion.  However, the Church sees the…

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  • March 15, 2017

The Mechanism for—and Importance of—Service on Defunct Maryland LLCs in Construction Cases

When defending a general contractor in a construction litigation, you may need to effectuate proper service of a cross-claim or third-party complaint on a potentially responsible subcontractor.  What are your options if the subcontractor is a forfeited limited liability company (“LLC”)? Maryland law treats defunct corporations in a different manner than defunct LLCs.  While a forfeited corporation loses all powers conferred by law[1], a forfeited LLC loses only the right to do business in the State and the right to the use of its name.[2]  The Maryland statute “Contracts with forfeited LLC” states: The forfeiture of the right to do…

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  • March 8, 2017

Maryland Court of Appeals Determines That Driver of a Taxi is not Entitled to PIP Under his Personal Auto Policy

On January 23, 2017, the Maryland Court of Appeals, in a split opinion, determined that the driver of a taxicab who was injured in an accident was not entitled to Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) benefits under his personal automobile insurance policy, which did not insure the taxicab. The cab driver, Alahassan Bundu-Conteh, was rear-ended by a motor vehicle while driving his taxicab. The taxicab was insured by Amalgamated Insurance Company and carried liability-only coverage, which does not include PIP coverage. PIP coverage is limited no-fault coverage, usually in the amount of $2,500.00, that provides a person insured under a policy…

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  • January 6, 2017

Maryland Landlords Seek Clarity in Light of Recent Rulings from the Court of Appeals

Recent court decisions have created great uncertainty in the law concerning: (i) the definition of “rent;” (ii) whether unpaid utility expenses and/or other unpaid expenses can be pursued in addition to unpaid rent in a failure to pay rent action; and (iii) how the other unpaid expenses can be pursued in Rent Court. The Maryland residential tenancy statutes provide two types of District Court actions for landlords: (i) an action for failure to pay rent, pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Real Prop. § 8-401 (2016); and (ii) an action for breaches of covenants within the lease other than for failure…

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  • October 14, 2016

The Claims of Minors in Wrongful Death Claims Must be Brought Within Three Years of the Decedent’s Death

Wrongful death claims are a creature of statute.  There is no common law claim for wrongful death.  Maryland's Wrongful Death Act, codified in Md. Cts. and Jud. Proc., Title 3, Subtitle 9 (the "Act"), identifies those individuals who are beneficiaries under the Act, which include the children of the deceased individual.  Often, the children who are entitled to assert the claim are minors.  Ordinarily, a cause of action for wrongful death must be brought within three years from the decedent's demise.  Maryland law, however, has long stated that limitations for a minor’s claim do not start running until the minor…

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  • October 7, 2016

A Consumer’s Guide to Automobile Insurance in Maryland

A CONSUMER'S GUIDE TO AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE IN MARYLAND1 Peter J. Basile, Shareholder Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew, P.A. © 2018 Introduction We represent many clients who have been involved in car accidents, whether they are asserting claims for serious injuries or are being sued for causing injuries to others. Often, after hearing our assessment of their case, our clients remark, “But I have full coverage.” They, like many others, mistakenly assume that having “full coverage” means that they are adequately insured. We have been involved in many cases where our clients’ lives have been adversely affected because they lacked adequate insurance…

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  • August 1, 2016

Dissociative Amnesia Does Not Toll the Statute of Limitations

Note to reader: This blog does not name any of the parties in the lawsuit, even though the reported opinion does. During a hospitalization in January, 2014 at an inpatient trauma disorders unit for depression and suicidal ideation, R.A. remembered the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father during her childhood, which was between 29 to 47 years earlier. This, in turn, triggered a similar reaction in R.A.’s two sisters, both of whom also allege that they were sexually abused as children by their father. In February, 2014, the three sisters reported the alleged sexual abuse to…

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  • July 13, 2016

Maryland Court of Appeals Creates a New Cause of Action Against Adults Who Allow Underage Drinking

The Court of Appeals has broken new ground in Maryland law, holding that parents or other adults who "knowingly and willfully" host an underage drinking party can be held civilly liable for death or injury caused by an intoxicated attendee.  The case is Kirakos v. Phillips, decided on July 5, 2016.  The ruling is the first time the Court has recognized the potential liability of party hosts for alcohol-related harm caused by their guests under the legal drinking age of 21. The unanimous Court based the landmark decision on Maryland Code CR §10-117(b), the criminal statute that makes it illegal…

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  • June 29, 2016

Location, Location, Location: The More Complicated Side of Premises Liability Law

It is well established in Maryland premises liability matters that “the duty of care an owner or occupier of land owes a visitor varies, depending on whether the entrant is an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.”  Deboy v. City of Crisfield, 167 Md. App. 548, 555 (2006).  “The highest duty is that owed to an invitee; it is the duty to ‘use reasonable and ordinary care to keep [the] premises safe for the invitee and to protect [the invitee] from injury caused by an unreasonable risk which the invitee, by exercising ordinary care for [the invitee’s] own safety will not discover.’” …

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  • June 1, 2016

Admissibility of Disiplinary Action Against Medical Experts in Maryland

Many attorneys tend to gravitate toward experts they have used in the past, which should not surprise anyone.  If you have a positive experience with an expert, then you will likely look to use the same expert again in the future when the need arises.  If you have been injured and hire an attorney to represent you, then he or she will decide with you whether the case would benefit from an expert.  This could be a liability expert, a medical expert, or both. If you have a medical expert who was not a treating physician, it is usually to…

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