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  • October 13, 2014

Maryland Taverns Shielded from Liability Caused by Intoxicated Patrons — For Now

In Warr v. JMGM Group, LLC, 433 Md. 170 (2013), the Court of Appeals of Maryland reaffirmed that taverns, bars or others who serve alcohol are not liable for serving visibly intoxicated patrons who thereafter cause automobile accidents.  In Warr, Michael Eaton spent approximately six (6) hours at Dogfish Head Alehouse drinking roughly twenty-one alcoholic drinks, and he became “violent and aggressive.”  While Mr. Eaton was being served at Dogfish Head Alehouse, he was “‘clearly intoxicated.’”  Mr. Eaton left the bar and was traveling between eighty-eight (88) to ninety-eight (98) miles per hour when he struck another vehicle, which caused…

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  • October 1, 2014

Maryland Legislature Increases Employee Leave: The Parental Leave Act

On October 1, 2014, a new Maryland law expanding rights of employee leave took effect. Codified as Maryland Labor and Employment Article sections 3-1201 through 3-1211, the Maryland Parental Leave Act (MPLA) requires certain employers to allow eligible employees to take unpaid leave for very narrow and specific reasons. Who is Affected? The MPLA affects Maryland employers with at least fifteen but not more than forty-nine employees. For purposes of counting, employees are those persons who have worked each working day during a period of twenty calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. A person is eligible for…

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  • September 4, 2014

Producing Documents Kept in the Regular Course of Business

The discovery process can create significant stress for parties involved in litigation.  One of the most onerous aspects of discovery, especially for businesses, is document production.  Document production often requires the disclosure of voluminous records, some of which may be several years old and may contain proprietary or sensitive information.  Electronic storage and retrieval capabilities have made the process easier, but responding to requests for production of documents remains burdensome. The burden has been made slightly less heavy by a ruling by a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.  In Kwasniewski v. Sanofi-Aventis U.S.…

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  • July 29, 2014

Charitable Contributions to Foreign Organizations and/or Designated to Foreign Organizations

In general, the United States does not permit individuals to claim an income tax deduction for direct contributions to foreign charities.  IRC Section 170(c)(2)(a) specifically limits the tax deduction to corporations, funds or foundations created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States.  To that end, the IRS will disallow a tax deduction for contributions to domestic charities if the domestic charity is a mere conduit of funds to a foreign organization.  To determine whether the domestic charity is a “mere conduit” of funds, the IRS will look to the whether the domestic organization…

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  • June 24, 2014

Under Maryland Law, the Insurer has the Right to Select Defense Counsel Notwithstanding a Reservation of Rights for Non-Covered Claims

Conflicts between the insurer and the insured can arise from the fact that the duty to defend is much broader than the duty to indemnify. The insurer’s distinct and independent duty to defend its insured is triggered by claims that give rise to the “potentiality” of indemnification under the policy[1]. Litz v State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., 346 Md. 217, 695 A.2d 566 (1997); Fireman’s Fund v Rairigh, 59 Md. App. 305, 320, 475 A.2d 509, 516, cert denied, 310 Md. 176 (1984); Rivera Beach Vol. Fire Co., Supra. As the Maryland Court of Appeals held in St. Paul…

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  • June 10, 2014

Maryland Wrongful Death Statute Survives Challenge and Lives On

In Susan Mummert, et al. v. Massoud B. Alizadeh, et al., 435 Md. 207, 77 A.3d 1049 (2013), Maryland’s highest Court held that a wrongful death beneficiary’s right to file a lawsuit is not contingent upon the decedent’s ability to bring a timely negligence claim on the date of her death. The question on appeal revolved around key language in Maryland’s Wrongful Death Statute, including the requirement that a “wrongful act” be one “which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued.” The facts giving rise to the wrongful death…

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  • May 29, 2014


Ms. Szymanowski was installed as Chair Elect for the Young Lawyers Division of the Bar Association of Baltimore City for the 2014 – 2015 bar year.  She was previously named a 2014 Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine and Baltimore Magazine. Ms. Szymanowski joined the firm in 2005, following a judicial clerkship to the Honorable John P. Miller in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.  Her practice focuses on taxation, charitable organizations, business, banking and real estate. Ms. Szymanowski received her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Baltimore in 2000, a J.D. from Tulane University…

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  • May 20, 2014

Court Expands Rights of Maryland Churches to Build

Churches have long faced challenges in zoning and local land use ordinances when looking to build.  Legal disputes have pitted the right of the Church to religious freedom against the right of the local community to regulate and/or restrict land use.  Now, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has issued a decision which has clarified and expanded the rights of churches in Maryland looking to build, and set a higher standard for counties looking to restrict church building through zoning and other land use ordinances. The case is Bethel World Outreach Ministries v. Montgomery County Council. …

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  • May 6, 2014

Can Employers Become Contractually Bound to the FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects employees who work for employers that have more than 50 employees within seventy-five miles of the employee’s worksite.  However, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has suggested that employers, even if not specifically covered by the FMLA, may bind themselves to the terms of the FMLA through certain oral and written statements made to their employees. In Reaux v. Infohealth Management Corp., 2009 WL 635468 (N.D.Ill.), there was no dispute that the employer employed fewer than 50 employees within seventy-five miles of the employee’s worksite.  However, the…

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  • April 29, 2014

OFCCP Adopts Final Rules Expanding Veteran Hiring Requirements for Federal Contractors

The past few years have seen a flurry of regulatory activity by the Department of Justice’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).  A previous post discussed the newly-revised rules concerning disability hiring requirements for federal contractors.  Another important development has been the adoption of new rules imposing requirements for the hiring of veterans, now codified as Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 60-300.  Like the disability-related rules, these amendments took effect on March 24, 2014. The newly-amended rules impose several new requirements that will change the way federal contractors do business.  Among the most important are…

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