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moped scooter rules

A fedora will no longer suffice.

Starting Monday, the ridiculous pass that mopeds and scooters in Maryland have been given on the most basic safety precautions will end. Moped and scooter drivers now must equip their death traps by wearing a helmet and some kind of eye protection. Scooter drivers must also register their vehicles and have a valid drivers’ license or a moped/scooter permit.

Maryland was one of the few remaining states that did not require a license, registration, and insurance for mopeds (or mo-peds? I can’t decide).

The Maryland legislature is unlikely to jump right into Maryland’s pit bull controversy in spite of what is described as a bipartisan support to overturn the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that imposes strict liability for pit bull owners in dog bite cases, according to the Maryland Daily Record.

new pit bull law

While the General Assembly is almost sure to debate the court’s ruling in Tracey v. Solesky, the legislature has apparently decided that the special session is not the time or place to address anything other than the budget crisis.

This blog post summarizes Mattison v. Gelber, a new Maryland Court of Appeals opinion in a medical malpractice case with a unique issue regarding whether there was an entry of final judgment without an award of costs. You can go to the jump at the bottom of the post. I take the dog for a short walk in the introduction.

When I started practicing law, one of the first cases that I was given was a plaintiff’s legal malpractice case. Except for a subrogation case – which really does not count as a plaintiff’s case – it was the only plaintiff’s case that I had in my first four years as a lawyer. Now, it has been ten years since I was on the other side of the v.maryland malpractice opinion

Anyway, in the malpractice case, the lawyer blew the time for filing a post-verdict appeal. He blew in the most bizarre way possible: he filed his Notice of Appeal too early before final judgment had been entered.

Committing legal malpractice for doing something too early stuck with me. I have been paranoid to this day about deadlines but, in particular, post-judgment motions. In Mattison v. Gelber, the court dealt with facts that validate my paranoia.

This case started, as many malpractice claims do, with a battle over venue. Plaintiff filed in Prince George’s County against two doctors. There is not a medical malpractice attorney in Maryland who would not prefer Prince George’s County to anywhere else (a possible exception: Baltimore City). But the malpractice happened in Howard County, one of the toughest places in Maryland to try a malpractice case. The Prince George’s County Circuit Court transferred the case, it did what it likes to do if there is a venue of issue: kick it out of their court.

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Weehoo will recall approximately 2011 Weehoo iGo bicycle trailers the company made between April 2011 and July 2011. The problem is a parents worse nightmare with these things: that their child becomes unhitched and goes into traffic or somewhere else that is unsafe.

Apparently, the receiver on the trailer’s seat post hitch can crack. If it cracks, it might cause the trailer to detach, posing fall and crash hazards to the child being pulled along.bike trailer recall

I have a bike trailer but I have no idea what the name of it is as I type this post. The particular trailer has a steel frame with an adjustable seat for passengers 38 to 52 inches tall, two pedals with straps, an enclosed sprocket and chain, a 20-inch wheel, two pannier pockets, a flagpole and a flag. The seat, pannier pockets, and flag are made of red, heavy-duty nylon.

Truck accident cases are often about insurance coverage. As I have written before, trucking companies are getting advice from lawyers to set us as many different fraudulent hoops as they possible to shield themselves from liability.

One mechanism to avoid responsibility many companies use (sometimes innocently) is hiring trucking companies that are independent contractors. So when the there is a truck accident suit where the claim exceeds the independent contractor’s insurance coverage, the company tries to hide behind the “that’s my independent contractor” shield (although, sometimes, that shield is artificial and the independent contractor is really an employee).

As a result, companies trying to get their products from point-to-point often pick trucking companies that could provide the lowest price. Often, it costs money for trucking companies to do the safe thing – namely, hiring good truck drivers without a history of drug and alcohol abuse or a history of car or truck accidents. Bad truck drivers are available on the cheap.truck accident coverage

In March, I wrote a post about failed efforts in Maryland to require DWI offenders to install an ignition interlock system in their vehicles. Specifically, the bill before the legislature this year would have required people convicted of alcohol-related offenses to only drive cars equipped with an ignition interlock system for some period. Simple premise: cars can’t start if you are not sober. My first thought is who would be opposed to this. It just makes too much sense.

Reading the Maryland State Bar Association Legislative Preview today, I found out something interesting I didn’t know: this bill passed the Maryland Senate 44-0 before getting stalled in the house judiciary committee. Okay, so no one person in the Maryland Senate thinks it is a terrible idea, but we can’t even get it to a vote in the House of Delegates?

I think the people of Maryland would be very depressed to see how the sausage is made.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals decided on Thompson v. State Farm, a bad faith claim against State Farm that arose out of a car accident in Millersville, Maryland in Anne Arundel County. At issue is a common battleground in Maryland car accident cases: venue. A regular issue that is usually, but not always, decided in favor of; however, the trial judge sees it.appellate decision state farm

State Farm won the case, and the CSA sided with the trial judge. This was, however, anything but a garden variety venue case. This case involved an appeal of a Maryland Insurance Administration finding that State Farm had not committed bad faith, which made the venue issue that much more complex. As I talk about below, the court gets into the two bad faith statutes and begins what I don’t suspect will be the first appellate effort to sort through them.

Plaintiff’s lawyer was the well respected Debbie Potter from the Jaklitsch Law Group. Debbie was doing what excellent accident lawyers do, trying to get venue in a favorable jurisdiction.

Her argument was that venue was proper in Baltimore City because State Farm does business in Baltimore City and State Farm could not point to anyone who would be inconvenienced by deferring to the Plaintiff’s choice of venue. (Liability for the car accident was not in dispute so, arguably, the location of the accident or the domicile of the at-fault driver should not enter the calculus.)

In fact, for any bad faith case against State Farm, any State Farm witnesses would likely come from Owings Mills (where State Farm houses its adjusters). Obviously, the argument goes, Annapolis is further from Owings Mills than Baltimore City. Continue reading

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals provided yet another ruling from Maryland appellate courts about the nuances of malpractice law in Maryland that require a certificate of merit and other technical provisions before initiating a medical malpractice lawsuit.

In Maryland, the procedures for filing and litigating medical malpractice actions are established by the Maryland Healthcare Malpractice Claims Act, which governs medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Maryland. This statute requires plaintiffs’ medical malpractice lawyers in Maryland to jump through a lot of hoops. Most notably, a certificate of merit from a medical doctor is required before bringing a malpractice lawsuit.

Malpractice attorneys in Maryland dislike this requirement. I have mixed feelings about it because I think some frivolous malpractice lawsuits get filed in other jurisdictions and I think this is a way to weed out some of those suits.

A lot of meritorious lawsuits were filed last week. Yet this morning my Google Reader quickly pointed me to two that seem to embody the definition of a frivolous lawsuit:

  • Walter Olson on Overlawyered reports on a lawsuit in Canada where the Plaintiff is suing after she jumped out of a car while intoxicated. As I wrote a comment on the Overlawyered post, I cannot imagine a scenario where this is a legitimate claim. I’m all in favor of lawsuits when the victims are innocent.
    frivolous lawsuits

    What I do when I see lawsuits like this.

I’ll admit to being a sucker for kind words:nice email

I am in CA and I wanted to thank you for your site. I am an innocent victim up against a very ruthless old attorney who has already forced me to bankruptcy and is trying to take my home for his retirement. He is partnered with an incredibly dishonest client and overwhelmed my attorney for 5 years with process, motions, etc… I am now pro se and working diligently to keep up with him, and your site gave me some great ideas. I applaud you for putting your work on your site, and I sure wish you guys were in California. I am impressed with the quality and ideals which your firm obviously believes in. I wish I could have been your client.

I often hear from lawyers who I consider experienced who tell me they repeatedly use our website as a tool in their law practices. Some insurance companies have even given us naming rights, calling certain motions “Miller & Zois” motions because they are widely taken from our site and filed in other cases.

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