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 More

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 More

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 More

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 More

A Consumer’s Guide to Automobile Insurance in Maryland

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” More

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 More

Recent Strict Liability Case Contains Important Lesson for Parties and Practitioners

In early March 2016, a small-town dispute reached the Maryland Court of Appeals and somewhat surprisingly garnered coverage in several prominent local publications, including The Frederick News Post,[1] The Daily Record,[2] and The Washington Post.[3]  In Toms v. Calvary Assembly of God, Inc., Mr. Toms, a dairy farmer in Walkersville, Maryland, sued the Calvary Assembly More

Destruction of Physical Evidence at the Core of a Claim Can Result in Dismissal Under Maryland Law

In a decision filed February 1, 2016 and drafted by Judge Douglas Nazarian, the Court of Special Appeals underscored the importance of preserving physical evidence at issue in a lawsuit, especially when the physical evidence “is itself the subject of the case.”  Cumberland Ins. Group v. Delmarva Power, 72 Sept. Term 2015, Slip Op. at More

Robert L. Ferguson, Jr. and Ann D. Ware Win Another Coverage Case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

  Robert L. Ferguson, Jr. and Ann D. Ware won another appeal argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  This is their second successful 4th Circuit appeal in the span of a few months.  In this most recent matter, Mr. Ferguson argued that a Crew Provision in a marine insurance More

Risk Management in the Sports & Entertainment Industry

In the Sports & Entertainment industry, proper risk management prior to, during, and after each event is critical to success.  As an event organizer, you want your patrons to enjoy themselves and you want them to do so safely, so you must employ a good plan, skillful execution, and thorough post-event analysis.  Event management cannot More

Robert L. Ferguson, Jr. and Ann D. Ware Win Case of First Impression on Construction Insurance Coverage

In March, we posted an article reporting that Robert L. Ferguson, Jr. had argued a question of first impression before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  At issue was a standard ISO insurance endorsement used extensively by contractors and subcontractors that defines when the subcontractor’s insurer must provide a defense to More

Time for a Uniform Procedure for Minor Settlements in Maryland

In Maryland, if a minor is injured, a claim is presented on behalf of the minor by the minor’s parents or guardians.  Frequently, these claims are resolved before suit is even filed.  Since minors cannot themselves execute binding releases, the defendants and sometimes even the parents or guardians require a judicial determination that the settlement More

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 More

Must a Public University Provide Closed Captioning for Hearing-Impaired Spectators Attending Live Athletic Events?

Dr. Joseph Innes, Daniel Rinas, and Sean Markel (“Plaintiffs”) filed a lawsuit against the University of Maryland claiming that the university does not provide an equal opportunity to enjoy, benefit from, or participate in watching athletic events equivalent to that of individuals without hearing disabilities. The Plaintiffs, all of whom have a hearing disability, contend More

Evidence of Immigration Status in a Personal Injury Case

In the case of Ayala v. Lee, 215 Md. App. 457, 81 A.3d 584 (2013), the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland held that evidence of a plaintiff’s status as an undocumented immigrant can be admissible in a personal injury action if the evidence is relevant and not prejudicial.  This lawsuit arose out of a More

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 More

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 More

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 More

Maryland Court of Appeals Holds that Release of a Tortfeasor Does Not Release an Uninsured Motorist Claim

On March 18, 2007, Ember Buckley was a passenger in a vehicle operated by her then boyfriend, Harvey Betts.  The vehicle was involved in a single vehicle accident.  Ms. Buckley was injured and incurred medical bills exceeding $200,000.  Mr. Betts’ liability insurance carrier, GEICO, offered to settle Ms. Buckley’s claim against Mr. Betts for the More

Volunteer Immunity in Maryland

No matter how industrious, intelligent, and capable an individual may be, success or hardship in the world is often a product of timing and fortune.  Society has long recognized this fact.  As a result, people continue to be generous with their time and effort, volunteering to a host of worthy charitable causes and non-profit organizations.  More

Maryland Court of Appeals Holds Exculpatory Clauses Valid and Enforceable Against Claims Made by a Minor Child

Exculpatory clauses have long been used as a means for protecting commercial enterprises, religious and charitable organizations, and other non-profits from potential liability for the consequences of conduct that would otherwise be negligent.  In Maryland, in the absence of legislation to the contrary, exculpatory clauses are generally valid, and public policy of freedom of contract More