Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

September 2010 Archives

Attorney Antonio Aquia is Recognized as "Super Lawyer's Rising Star" by Law and Politics for the Second Year in a Row!

Belsky, Weinberg, & Horowitz, LLC, is proud to once again announce the designation of Antonio Aquia as "Super Lawyer's Rising Star". Identification as a Super Lawyer involves a rigorous four-step process: (1) Creation of the Candidate Pool Through a Statewide Survey of Lawyers; Evaluation of Candidates by the Law & Politics Research Department; Peer Evaluation by Practice Area; and a Final Selection Process according to firm demographics in the state. Only five percent of all lawyers in the State receive the Super Lawyer designation. This year is the second year in a row that Antonio Aquia has received this designation in the area of Consumer Bankruptcy. After ten years of hard work, dedication, and loyalty to his firm and his clients, Mr. Aquia has developed a reputation for bringing professionalism, skillfulness, and reasoned approaches to all of his cases. He lectures frequently to other lawyers in continuing legal education courses striving to raise the standard of performance of the Maryland Bankruptcy Bar. As a founding co-member of the Maryland State Bar Association Consumer Bankruptcy Section, Mr. Aquia has always prided himself in giving back to the Bar and to the community that has given him the opportunity to do so much. Congratulations on a continued job well done and an award so much deserved, keep up the good work!

Constitutionality of Maryland's Cap on Noneconomic Damages Upheld on Stare Decisis Grounds

On September 24, 2010, the Court of Appeals of Maryland issued its much anticipated opinion in DRD Pool Service, Inc. v. Freed, in which it upheld Maryland's cap on noneconomic loss. The opinion was grounded on past common law precedent upholding the cap in prior challenges. The court refused to revisit two prior decisions upholding the cap on constitutional grounds and refused to apply a heightened standard of scrutiny as to whether the cap is constitutional. Instead, the court applied the lowest level of rational basis scrutiny in holding that the potential impact on the insurance industry and insurance premiums in allowing unlimited awards for noneconomic loss was a rational justification for the legislature to impose the cap. The court also determined there was sufficient evidence of conscious pain and suffering offered through expert testimony on the issue of whether the decedent, a minor, who drowned in a swimming pool, suffered conscious pain and suffering prior to his death despite the absence of independent eyewitness accounts that the child demonstrated behavior indicative of struggle or conscious suffering. The court therefore affirmed the decision of the Maryland Court of Special appeals on both issues.

American Consumers Could Lose Access to Courts in Certain Contract Claims

The Supreme Court will hear argument in the case of AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion and could potentially put an end to the American consumer's ability to bring class action lawsuits against telephone companies, banks, telecom corporations, credit card companies, and others.

United States Supreme Court to Decide Yet Another Bankruptcy Appeal

Bankruptcy lawyers are quick to note that the Supreme Court has been very busy recently deciding bankruptcy appeal after bankruptcy appeal. And should they be surprised? After all, the way the new law was written, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act ("BAPCPA"), is it any wonder that bankruptcy judges across the Nation are deciding issues in directly opposite ways? From hanging paragraphs, to unclear definitions, to debt relief agencies, to hanging chads no one should be surprised when Circuit Courts of Appeals' decisions are being handed down that directly contradict each other. When this happens, it becomes time for the Supreme Court to step in and rectify the split in those opinions.

$34 Million Carbon Monoxide Verdict Survives Post Trial Motions But Appeal Nearly Certain

The Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge who presided over the three month trial that led to a jury verdict of $34 million has denied the defendants' post trial motions for a new trial and/or for a reduction in the verdict in accordance with the state's cap on noneconomic damages.

Study Reveals Malpractice Claims Have No Effect on Healthcare Costs

Trial lawyers and their clients have been roundly criticized in recent years for driving the costs of medical care through the roof. Insurance companies perpetually lobby state and federal politicians for tort reform as a mechanism for containing insurance and health care costs even though they refuse to produce real numbers to substantiate their claims that insurance is becoming unaffordable due to malpractice claims. A new study published in the September issue of Health Affairs sheds some interesting light on the real cause of increasing health care costs and it's not claims brought by trial lawyers for their clients.

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