Articles Posted in Practicing Law

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals issued an opinion in Seriou V. Baystate Properties last week that discusses some interesting issues regarding piercing the corporate veil and Maryland, and when a court can allow a lawyer to strike an appearance.

Under Maryland law, LLCs are normally protected from personal liability. There are, however, instances when a Maryland court will find that members can be personally liable in order to “prevent fraud or enforce a paramount equity.” This is called “piercing the corporate veil.”

In this case, the builder and the owner of the LLC entered into a contract. The builder was to build two houses on the owner’s property. Although the builder completed building the two houses, the builder was not paid for services.

The Maryland Bar Exam is coming around the corner once again for July 2011. You know what this means? Lots of traffic for this blog from people looking for information – any information – on the July exam.

Folks, I don’t have much. But I have a theory. If you Googled something to the effect of “Maryland bar exam July 2011” you are more likely to pass the bar exam than someone who has not. Why? Because just the fact that you care so much to be looking for information, probably puts you in the category of law students that care more than most. You are 10% more likely to pass the bar exam if you read this post than those who don’t (standard deviation: 10%).

My advice: relax. Easier said than done. But the chances are strong – statistically – you will pass the bar exam. If you don’t? Seriously, seriously, the world will not come to an end. I can honestly say I only remember one person who didn’t pass the bar. A lot of people I came out with didn’t but I really only remember one person. No one remembers. There is a long career ahead for you even in the unlikely event you don’t pass.

The general statute of limitations in Maryland is three years, as set forth in Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 5-101. This is the “default” statute of limitations that applies unless another limitation period is applicable. Master Fin., Inc. v. Crowder, 409 Md. 51, 70, 972 A.2d 864, 875 (2009).

I’ve seen statistics that nearly a third of all legal malpractice claims arise out of personal injury lawyers blowing the statute of limitations. How is that? Some lawyers are so disorganized they just miss the statute. But I suspect this is the minority of cases. The main culprits are the most notable exceptions for Maryland personal injury lawyers of these general rules which either apply a different statute of limitations or require notice to bring a claim:

  • Maryland Local Government Tort Claims Act

The Maryland Rules Committee has proposed an amendment to Maryland Rule 2-311 that will require that when a hearing is requested on a motion, that the heading or title of the motion must show that a hearing is requested.

I would love to understand the rationale for this. If you file a Notice of Hearing in your motion, you would think that would be good enough.

Okay, Maryland’s bar exam results for 2010 are not out yet. And you know they are not out yet. So why are you Googling it? It is a little obsessive, don’t you think?

Here’s the deal. First of all, you probably passed. Last July, 81% of the applicants passed the Maryland bar. The Maryland bar exam, relatively speaking, does not set the bar very high. I think you are in that top 81%. Yes, you. In fact, your chances are better than 81% because a small percentage of the 19% who will fail is trying to Google when the exam results are coming out.

Second, if by some crazy off chance you failed the bar, it will be a blow and an embarrassment to you. That would be awful, I totally get that. But in the years to come, no one will know or care. The list of people who have failed the bar exam in the past includes many people smarter than both of us. Above the Law provides a partial list of smart people who failed the bar and went on to do great things.

What do you make of the much-circulated rumor that President Obama will nominate Alan Dershowitz to the Supreme Court this week? Of course, I’m completely making this up. The Internet is great. If you say something crazy enough, someone will pick it up and it will become the next hot rumor. Could modern society function without Snopes?

This leads me to another “we would not have conceived of this even 5 years ago” tidbit: there is a fantasy Supreme Court website where you can make your fantasy pick for Supreme Court justice. On his site, Josh Blackmon has photoshopped Elena Kagan into a picture with the other Supreme Court justices.

In other Supreme Court news, the court has closed the main entrance to the Supreme Court for security reasons. Two justices dissented from the decision. That sounds like another joke. But it is not. There really was a dissenting opinion.