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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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  • February 20, 2017

The “Trump Travel Ban” and Freedom of Religion

On January 27, 2017, seven days after his inauguration, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13,769 entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The Executive Order has 11 sections, containing the President’s findings, policy, and directions to the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security. Its provisions include the Implementation of Uniform Screening Standards for all Immigration Programs, an Expedited Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System, improved Visa Interview Security Training, and other programs. The most controversial provisions of the Executive Order are in Section 3 “Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of…

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  • January 25, 2017

Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew is Pleased to Announce That Jonathan D. Nelson Has Become a Principal of the Firm

Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew, P.A. is pleased to announce that Jonathan D. Nelson has become a shareholder in the firm.  Mr. Nelson joined the firm as an associate attorney, and was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2009 after graduating magna cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law and following a clerkship with the Honorable Pamela J. White in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.  During his tenure at the firm, Mr. Nelson has demonstrated a unique and effective synthesis of creativity and tenacity in his general civil litigation and insurance defense practice.  He has garnered the…

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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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  • 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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  • December 16, 2016

Church’s “Public Accommodation” and Gender Identity

The question of churches and gender identity have again come to the forefront of the news. The recent events in North Carolina and the recent joint guidance provided by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have raised issues of religious freedom and civil rights. Churches have expressed questions on (i) whether church buildings and services are required to comply with the recent joint guidance provided by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, (ii) whether churches are exempt from this joint guidance and/or state law, and (iii) if compliance is mandated, what liability do churches face in failing to…

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  • November 30, 2016

Employee Benefit Plans and the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program

The Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (“VFCP”), sponsored by the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the Department of Labor, provides relief from civil liability and an exemption from excise taxes under the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”). VFCP is designed to encourage self-correction of certain violations and fiduciary breaches of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. VFCP covers many different transactions. One of the most commonly violated transactions that it covers is delinquent contributions. Plan sponsors have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that participant contributions are deposited in a plan’s trust on a timely basis. Participant contributions are defined as…

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  • November 23, 2016

Pregnancy Center Wins First Amendment Case

In a clear victory for the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns won a Summary Judgment against Baltimore City when a City ordinance requiring the posting of signs at pregnancy centers was struck down as unconstitutional. Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew was among the attorneys representing the Center and defending its First Amendment rights. The case concerned a 2009 City Ordinance requiring “limited service pregnancy centers” to post signs in their waiting room stating that they do not provide or refer for abortion, or provide birth control. The Center (which provides a clear…

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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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