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Court of Appeals: Foreclosure Notices Must Identify All Secured Parties

Published on Dec 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm in General Blogs.

In a ruling that can only be described as common sense, the state’s top court recently ruled that a foreclosure notice must identify all the secured parties; however, there are circumstances when the failure to identify a secured party is not fatal to a foreclosure action.

In Camille C. Shepherd v. John S. Burson, et al., the Court of Appeals also said that a failure to identify all secured parties in a foreclosure notice does not require dismissal of the foreclosure when the notice identifies one of the secured parties, the notice provides other legally-required required information that allows the borrow to pursue a loan modification, the identity of the other secured parties is disclosed to the borrower well in advance of the foreclosure sale and the borrower does not move to dismiss the foreclosure proceeding on the basis of a defective notice for more than a year after such disclosure.

The court’s ruling stemmed from a lender’s attempt to foreclose on a Greenbelt, Md. home. Camille Shepherd obtained a $416,900 loan from IndyMac in 2007 secured by a deed of trust on the home. She defaulted on the loan in 2008 after having obtained a loan modification that lowered the interest rate and, as a result, lowered her monthly payment. IndyMac transferred its assets to OneWest Bank FSB in 2009 after IndyMac went under in 2007.

Appeals Court Rules that Non-Economic Damage Caps Apply Separately to Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

Published on Dec 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm in General Blogs.

The cap on non-economic damages in non-medical malpractice cases applies separately to jury awards in survival and in wrongful death actions, the Court of Special Appeals has held.

Caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases have been a point of controversy as Republicans have wanted to rollback jury awards by capping damages, while many attorneys have argued – and some courts have held — that the caps strip the jury of much of their function. Non-economic damages commonly refer to pain and suffering, but they also include losses such as emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.

The principal issue in Wayne H. Goss, et al. v. The Estate of Bertha Jennings, et al. was whether the cap on non-economic damages cap imposed by Maryland law applies separately or collectively to damages awarded in two separate types of legal action — wrongful death and survival — that often stem from the same occurrence.

Maryland Courts Rule on Qualified Expert Certificate Questions

Published on Nov 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm in General Blogs.

One of the threshold requirements for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is that a “Certificate of Qualified Expert” must be filed with Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO), an administrative agency that promotes arbitration of medical claims. The certificate must state that the injury was caused by a departure from the standard of care and that this departure caused the alleged injury. The certificate must be filed within 90 days after the filing of the complaint.

The lawsuit will be dismissed if the certificate is not filed on time, unless an extension has been granted. Extensions are granted by the HCADRO director only under a showing of “good cause.”

Maryland’s federal trial court and the state’s Court of Special Appeals recently issued two rulings dealing with different questions on certificates.

Doctor’s Testimony Ruled Not Scientifically Valid in Workers’ Compensation Lawsuit Involving Mold

Published on Nov 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm in Workers Compensation.

One of the scourges of the modern-day world is mold and the impact of exposure upon our health. In a recent court case, Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals decided that a doctor’s opinion that exposure to mold led to a raft of problems for workers in a water-damaged building was not scientifically valid under the standard presently used in the Maryland court system.

The lawsuit stemmed from complaints by several employees of the Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (BWCUMC) of an odor emanating from the walls. A maintenance crew investigated and discovered mold. As a result, several workers filed claims against BWCUMC and its insurer, Montgomery Mutual Insurance Company with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. The workers said they suffered from “sick building syndrome” as a result of the exposure. While some of the workers’ claims were disallowed, several were awarded partial compensation.

Alleged Loan Modification Scamsters Pressed by Prosecutors

Published on Oct 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm in General Blogs.

As the economy continues to remain weak, loan modification scams continue to make the news. A Maryland man has been charged with conducting a loan modification scheme with a particularly cruel twist, while the government’s new consumer finance watchdog has made its first move into enforcement of mortgage-related fraud.

An Owings Mills, Md. man has pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud after prosecutors alleged he took money from at least 48 homeowners to help them get loan modifications, then stole the monthly payments they thought were going to their lenders, according to a story in the Baltimore Sun.

 

Rodney Getlan’s scheme was worse than the usual method of taking a big upfront fee and then doing little or nothing to help, according to the newspaper account.

Appellate Court Rejects Legal Defense That Would Defeat Medical Malpractice Claims

Published on Sep 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm in General Blogs.

If one medical malpractice defense attorney had had his way,merely explaining the complications that can accompany a medical procedurewould be enough to defeat a medical malpractice claim. But, in H. Jeffrey Schwarz, et al v. Arvia Johnson, Maryland ‘s Court of Special Appeals sided with the trialcourt in soundly rejecting such a defense.

A Baltimore City jury found that Dr. H. Jeffrey Schwartz’s negligence caused Arvia Johnson’s injuries and awarded Johnson medical expenses of $23,791.19 and non-economic damages of $650,000.

Employer Not Responsible for Fatigued Worker’s Auto Accident, Court Says

Published on Sep 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm in General Blogs.

Does an employer bear responsibility for an auto accident that occurred after a worker’s 22-hour work shift? In a recently decided case, all three Maryland courts came down in favor of the employer.

In Barclay et ux v. Briscoe, et al, personal representative of the estate of Christopher Richardson v. Ports America Baltimore, Inc., Maryland’s top court ruled that an employer can not be held liable for the off-duty motor accident stemming from on-the-job fatigue committed by an employee in his or her personal vehicle.

Thousands of Debt Collection Cases Dismissed by Maryland District Court Pursuant to Settlement Agreement with Debt Collection Agencies

Published on Jul 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm in General Blogs.

The following announcementwas issued by the Maryland Judiciary in its Website which affects thousands ofconsumer debtors and is reproduced here in its entirety:

“(ANNAPOLIS, Md. – July 11, 2012)On July 10, Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn of the District Court of Marylanddismissed 3,564 debt collection cases against Maryland residents. Judge Clyburn’s ordercomes after a settlement agreement with the debt collection agencies LVNV andResurgent Capital Services.

As part of the agreement reached with the Maryland State Collection Agency Licensing Board, LVNV and Resurgent will pay $1 million to the state and agreed to the dismissal of cases pending in Maryland District Court. Also, $3.8 million in credit will be applied to the accounts of 6,246 consumers whose cases have been adjudicated or settled. The settlement came after claims that LVNV and Resurgent violated state and federal laws about licensure and submitting false or misleading claims or affidavits in court.

Washington Redskins Loses to Former Football Players in Workers’ Compensation Decisions

Published on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm in Workers Compensation.

Pro footballers and workers’ compensation claims were on the mind of the Court of Appeals in August. The state’s top court released two decisions, two days apart, favoring claims made by two former Washington Redskins players.

In Pro-Football, Inc., t/a the Washington Redskins, et al. v. Thomas J. Tupa, Jr., the state’s top court ruled that former Washington Redskins punter Tom Tupa can collect workers’ compensation benefits in Maryland for a back injury that occurred at FedEx Field during warm-ups before a pre-season game in August 2005.

There were two questions before the court: (1) whether the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission should have exercised jurisdiction over the claim when the employment agreement contained a clause providing, among other things, that claims for workers’ compensation benefits should be governed by Virginia law and that the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission should have exclusive jurisdiction to resolve such claims and (2) whether injuries occurring while playing and practicing professional football are “accidental injuries” and, as a result, compensable under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act.

More Commonly Asked Questions About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Published on Mar 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm in General Blogs.

Continuing on in our series, Mr. Aquia answers more commonly asked questions about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

11. When should a chapter 7 case be filed ?

The answer depends on the status o the debtor’s dischargeable debts, the nature and status of the debtor’s nonexempt assets, and the actions taken or threatened to be taken by the debtor’s creditors. The following rules apply :

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