June 2012 Archives

Gay Marriage

Maryland has enacted a law legalizing gay marriage; however, the law does not take effect until next year and a referendum is expected. If the referendum occurs polling shows a 50/50 split among voters on this issue. Stay tuned. 

Non Existent Attorney's Fees Must be Considered in Custody Case

In Davis v. Petito the trial court awarded attorney's fees to a father who it found had been falsely and baselessly accused of sexual abuse by the child's mother. The Court of Appeals reversed the case indicating that the trial court had to consider attorney's fees incurred (but neither owed or paid by mother) to the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI) which represented the mother free of charge. In other words, the mother got a free lawyer to facilitate the bringing of baseless sexual abuse charges and the father, who had to pay his lawyer, could not get awarded his fees unless fees - that the mother did not ever have to pay were considered. 

Unlicensed Subcontractors Can Sue for Payment

The Court of Appeals has upheld the Court of Special Appeals and ruled that unlicensed home improvement subcontractors can sue for payment under certain limited circumstances. Hopefully, the door is now opened for rescinding the more inequitable aspects of the "no license no payment" doctrine. 

Liability for Company Contracts - Fraud:

One of the benefits of forming a separate legal entity such as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) is that owners generally cannot be held personally liable for breach of company contracts. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has recently ruled in Serio v. Baystate Properties, LLC that the protection from liability is fairly comprehensive. In Serio an LLC owned by the Defendant promised to set up an escrow account to deposit funds sufficient to pay a construction company draws on work performed on two investment properties. The land was owned by the Defendant and not his LLC. Money was to be received from the sale of the properties and the Defendant was found to have lied about the sale of one of the properties. Nonetheless the court held that the Defendant would not be held to redress the breach of a contractual obligation in the absence of fraud when the party seeking to pierce the corporate shield has dealt with that corporation in the course of its business on a corporate basis.

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