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  • October 16, 2020

Don’t Forget About Federal Court: Considerations in analyzing removal under diversity jurisdciton

In defending complex civil matters, one important consideration is the question of whether the matter must stay in the state court in which plaintiff filed, or, is there a basis for removal to federal court.  Trying a matter in federal court could present a host of benefits.  They include: a wider and deeper jury pool, avoiding feeling as if the matter is being tried on plaintiff’s “home turf,” and a more predictable application of procedural and substantive rules, authorities, customs, and practices.   The most common basis for seeking removal to federal court is where there is diversity of citizenship…

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  • August 13, 2020

Hotel Operations Under Maryland’s Current COVID-19 Orders & Guidance

On June 10, 2020, Maryland’s Department of Health issued an order pertaining to foodservice establishments, including hotel foodservice operations. Governor Hogan followed the June 10th order with one issued on August 3, 2020 that requires face coverings to be worn by anyone over the age of five (5) years old when indoors at any hotel foodservice location and outdoors when unable to maintain six (6) feet of distance from those whom are not members of their household. It is important to check local government orders and guidelines for COVID-19 pertaining to hotel operations. The orders permit hotel foodservice operations to:…

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  • January 8, 2020

Four FSB Attorneys Named in Baltimore Magazine for 2020

Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew, P.A., is proud to announce that four attorneys at the firm have recently been recognized for excellence in practice by being selected as Super Lawyers or Rising Stars for 2020. Specifically, Craig F. Ballew, Employment and Labor, and Robert L. Ferguson, Jr., Civil Litigation: Defense, made the 2020 list of Maryland Super Lawyers. Furthermore, Jacob L. White, Civil Litigation: Defense, and Daniel S. Baurer, Personal Injury General: Plaintiff, were named to the Maryland Rising Stars list. Mr. Ballew was previously named a Super Lawyer from 2008 through 2009, and again from 2012 through 2019. Mr. Ferguson…

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  • December 18, 2019

Secure Act Promises Major Changes in Retirement Planning

Substantial changes in retirement laws appear headed for passage and enactment into law by 2020. The SECURE Act (“Setting Every Community Up For Retirement Enhancement”) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 417 – 3 and similar legislation is now before the Senate. President Trump has expressed his support for what would be the first major change in retirement laws since 2006. The bill is a series to strong incentives to encourage savings towards retirements, together with the elimination of so-called Stretch IRAs that tie up wealth for generations. Essentially, the SECURE Act, breaks down into five (5)…

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  • October 8, 2018

General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages

The Maryland General Assembly has passed a new statute that marks a dramatic departure from existing wage and hour requirements for general contractors.  The new statute, which took effect on October 1, 2018, makes general contractors responsible for the failure of their subcontractors to pay their employees the wages they are owed.  The statute is modeled after a recent District of Columbia law, and will significantly alter the long established rules among general contractors, subcontractors, and their employees. The Maryland wage and hour and wage payment laws are designed to ensure that employees are fully and timely paid.  The laws…

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  • August 2, 2018

Submit to an Examination Under Oath or Lose Coverage

  On June 28th, 2018, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals issued an opinion in Dolan v. Kemper Independence Insurance Company, 218 WL 3199548 (Sept. Term, 2017) in which the appellate court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment in favor of the insurer against an insured who refused to submit to an examination under oath (EUO).   Most insurance policies, including the one at issue, contain policy conditions that require a person seeking coverage to cooperate with the insurer in the investigation, settlement, or defense of any claim or suit. These conditions usually require a person seeking coverage to submit to…

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  • May 15, 2017

Maryland Wiretapping Law vs. Workers’ Rights Under the NLRA

With the omnipresent smartphone making its way into the workplace, employers have tried to address some of the concerns that come along with such devices. Secretly recording the conversations of others with a cell phone can be very easy given today’s discrete technology. Predictably, many employers would (and do) take issue with such activity.  Moreover, such activity is illegal under Maryland law.  On the other hand, one federal agency—the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “the Board”)—asserts that employees should have the right to secretly record others as an exercise of their rights in the workplace.  This divergence between federal…

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  • December 21, 2016

The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act

On December 7, 2016, the Senate approved the 21st Century Cures Act (HB 34).   Included in this legislation is the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (the “Act”).  The Act now adds provisions to allow disabled individuals to establish their own self-settled special needs trusts.   In general, special needs trusts allow disabled beneficiaries to receive the benefit of trust assets without disqualifying those beneficiaries from receiving means-tested benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.  A special needs trust allows for trust assets to be used to pay for expenses that are not covered by these means-tested governmental programs, without…

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  • March 18, 2016

Care Required in Raising Affirmative Defenses

“Cardinal Law, in Lawsuit, Faults Child and Parents in Abuse Case.”  That was the headline of a Fox News Article on April 29, 2002.  The headline was driven by nothing more than a boilerplate affirmative defense in an answer filed on behalf of Cardinal Bernard Francis Law and the Archdiocese of Boston in a lawsuit brought by a person alleging that he was abused as a child by a priest.  The lawyers who filed the answer alleged that the “negligence of the plaintiffs contributed to cause the injury or the damage” and that any damages assessed against Cardinal Law “should…

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  • January 13, 2016

The Maryland Prudent Investor Rule

The Prudent Investor Rule was codified in Maryland in 1994, by §15-114 of the Estates & Trusts Article. The statute allows a fiduciary to utilize Modern Portfolio Theory in making investment elections for a trust, an estate or other beneficiary investments. Modern Portfolio Theory frees a trustee from rigid and outdated trust investment practices, and allows use of the full range of modern investment tools in selecting and managing portfolios for trust beneficiaries. The Prudent Investor Rule, however, only applies to a fiduciary that is a trust company or an investment advisor, or an individual trustee who makes a valid…

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