The Court also dealt with the issue of attorneys' fee awards for post-judgment collection efforts, and seemingly recommended that if a creditor wanted to be able to pursue reimbursement for post-judgment colection efforts, it could include clear language in its agreements providing that the parties intend that the attorneys' fee provision shall not merge into a judgment on the agreement.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
New Maryland Case on Attorney's Fee Awards - Fixed Percentage Fees in Promissory Notes & Post-Judgment Attorney Fee Awards
Monday, September 26, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Defendant denied owing anything to Mr. Ahmad, and argued that even if any amounts ever had been due Plaintiff for his claims, those claims were barred by Maryland's three year statute of limitations. Plaintiff argued that a document he drafted and had his elderly father sign waived the statute of limitations. [The document had been drafted in English, and Plaintiff's father could not read English]
At trial, the Circuit Court held that the document did not perpetually waive the statute of limitations, and that in any event, a perpetual waiver would be against public policy and unenforceable. Judgment was entered in favor of our client on all of Plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Special Appeals.
The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the Circuit Court. The appellate Court held that the document in question did not specifically say that it waived limitations perpetually, and that even if it did, perpetual waivers of limitations would be unenforceable under Maryland law.
A copy of the opinion is here.
The opinion is here.
It is likely that none of the parties in the case are happy with the result. According to Plaintiffs' counsel, they have billed hundreds of thousands of dollars in this case, but were only awarded a fraction of those fees. Defendants have spent similar amounts and the result of the case requires that they pay Plaintiffs the original (small) judgment in the case and more than four times that much in legal fees to the Plaintiffs' counsel.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
For a long time I have wondered how the Maryland Court of Appeals would rule in a summary ejectment (rent case) landlord-tenant case if the tenant challenged the validity of the suit based on the landlord’s lack of a license required by the local jurisdiction where the property is located. On May 4, 2011, the Court of Appeals ended my speculation. In McDaniel v. Baranowski, (copy here) the Court ruled that a landlord without a license to rent his or her property cannot bring a summary ejectment action against the tenant.
In light of the McDaniel case, every tenant lawyer will be searching the licensing records of the landlord to see if the rent case can be dismissed on a preliminary motion. Every landlord would be wise to make sure that all licensing requirements are followed.
A question remaining is what happens next if you are a landlord? How can you remove your tenant for failing to pay rent if you are not licensed? Well, the Court seems to say that as long as the landlord obtains a license and pleads and proves that licensure in Court, the landlord can proceed. Therefore, the landlord appears to be able to cure the defect; and even though the landlord was not licensed at the time of the lease to the tenant, a newly licensed landlord may sue for possession after a tenant’s failure to pay rent.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
On March 21, 2011, the Maryland Court of Appeals decided Ruffin Hotel Corporation of Maryland v. Gasper. In Ruffin Hotel, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County had dismissed Plaintiff’s negligent hiring/retention claim after finding that the cause of action was barred due to preemption by the State’s Workers’ Compensation laws. The Plaintiff appealed, and the Court of Special Appeals reversed, finding that the Workers’ Compensation laws did not preclude an employee from suing an employer for negligent hiring/retention of a fellow employee.
After the Court of Special Appeals’ decision, both parties sought review in the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed, stating that: “We reject the proposition that the General Assembly intended the Workers’ Compensation Commission is the exclusive forum in which a negligent hiring/retention claim must be litigated whenever such a claim is asserted by an employee against his or her employer as a result of intentional and unlawful misconduct of a fellow employee.”
A copy of the decision is found here.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Reported Maryland Court of Special Appeals Case on Personal Jurisdiction: Owning Unimproved Real Estate is not Sufficient Minimum Contacts
The Court of Special Appeals reversed and vacated judgments against the Cappels for $2,938,312.51. The Court found that owning unimproved real estate in the State of Maryland was not sufficient to allow for personal jurisdiction in Maryland where the real estate in question had nothing to do with the dispute between the parties.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
New Fourth Circuit Opinion on Arbitration -- Appeal of Arbitrability Decision Divests Trial Court of Jurisdiction
The appellate court also went on to decide that the trial court was wrong on the merits. That is, the appellate court held that the trial court was wrong to decide that certain claims were not subject to arbitration.
Before including an arbitration provision in your business agreements, you should be sure to consult with counsel to determine whether such a provision is in your interest and to discuss the scope and effect of such a provision.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
I will wait and hope that the issue of venue/jurisdiction is litigated and that the case comes home to Rockville where it belongs.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
The student then sued to obtain a decision on his application. The United States District Court for the District of Maryland (Baltimore) found that the student qualified for naturalization and the United States government did not appeal.
The student then sought his attorney’s fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) and the District Court denied that request. Under the EAJA, a victorious party to litigation against the Government may be entitled to an award of counsel fees “unless the court finds that the position of the United States was substantially justified. . ..” The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the particular circumstances of the student’s case, the Government’s position in contesting naturalization, while ultimately unsuccessful, was “substantially justified.”
This is another example of courts being hesitant to award attorneys’ fees, and being restrictive in awards, whether the basis for the request for the attorneys’ fee award is statutory or contractual. The opinion is found here.