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  • January 4, 2018

Tolerance is Most Meaningful When it’s Mutual- Supreme Court Arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop

The developing law concerning religious freedom and same sex marriage was argued before the United States Supreme Court on December 5, 2017 in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  The case concerns Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker and the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, which he opened in 1993.  In 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, two gay men intending to get married, came into his bakery and asked him to design a cake for their wedding.  Mr. Phillips declined, based on his Christian faith and his religious conviction that marriage was between a man and…

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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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  • October 30, 2015

When is Evidence of Liability Insurance Admissible Under Maryland Law?

It is well established under Maryland law that, typically, evidence of liability insurance is not admissible to determine whether a party is negligent. Such evidence is highly prejudicial and irrelevant to the issue of a defendant’s liability.  See Maryland Rule 5-411 and Accord Morris v. Weddington, 320 Md. 674 (1990).  However, a 2015, opinion from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals provides an interesting analysis and holding regarding the use of liability insurance evidence where the issue in question is an employer’s negligent hiring of an allegedly negligent employee, potentially opening the door for admissibility of liability insurance under certain…

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  • March 13, 2015

Robert L. Ferguson, Jr. Argues Case of First Impression on Construction Insurance Coverage

Robert L. Ferguson, Jr. recently argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, regarding a question of a Subcontractor’s insurance company’s duty to defend a General Contractor when the construction failure was the fault of its subcontractor. At issue was whether the subcontractor’s insurance policy that extended coverage to the contractor for the subcontractor’s acts or omissions, would provide a defense if the subcontractor itself had not been sued, and the Complaint did not expressly identify the subcontractor as responsible. The particular language in the insurance endorsement has never before been addressed under Maryland law. It…

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