Maryland general contractors be alert! Effective October 1, 2018, Maryland law imposes new liability on general contractors for unpaid wages on a project. The General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages Act (the “Act”) is modeled on a recent District of Columbia law. The law is designed to ensure that subcontractors comply with state wage laws and pay their employees in a timely manner. If the subcontractor fails to pay as required, the general contractor will now be jointly and severally liable for such failure in accordance with Maryland wage & hour laws, which can include punitive (treble) damages and attorney’s fees. The Act also applies to sub-subcontractors on down, which means a general contractor can be liable for wage violations at any tier of a project.
General Contractor Should Include Indemnification Clause in Subcontract
The Act requires the subcontractor to indemnify the general contractor for "any wages, damages, interest, penalties, or attorney's fees owed as a result of the subcontractor's violation," unless indemnification is provided for in a contract between the general contractor and the subcontractor, or if the subcontractor was unable to pay its employees because the general contractor failed to pay the subcontractor as required. An indemnification clause should be written into the subcontract for added security, although this will only be beneficial if the subcontractor is solvent and has the ability to reimburse the general contractor. If the subcontractor goes out of business or declares bankruptcy, the general contractor is fully on the hook for damages.
General Contractor Should be Selective with Subcontractors
In light of this new risk, the general contractor should be selective in awarding projects to subcontractors. The general contractor would be wise to avoid contracting with unknown companies unless a bond or other security is posted by the subcontractor. Additionally, the subcontract should require the subcontractor to produce on demand its certified payroll records to prove compliance with wage laws.
Michael Campbell is a partner in the litigation group at Miller, Miller & Canby. He focuses his practice on commercial, real estate and construction litigation. Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for an inquiry. For more information about the firm’s litigation practice, click here. For more information about the firm’s business and contract law practice, click here.
- Posted June 28, 2018 at 12:12 AM
- Categories Litigation, Press, MM&C Happenings, Maryland Property Tax News, Featured Events
Miller, Miller & Canby Litigation Attorney Michael Campbell was nominated and selected as President-Elect of the Montgomery County Chapter of the American Inns of Court. Mr. Campbell currently serves as Treasurer of the chapter and will begin his term as President in June 2019. The American Inns of Court is a national association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals who share a passion for legal excellence. Through monthly meetings, the chapter hosts a dinner followed by a presentation, demonstration or guest speaker. In this collegial environment, outside the courtroom and pressure of daily practice, members discuss legal practice, principals and methods and provide mentorship to new lawyers.
Michael Campbell is a partner in the litigation group at Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to trial and appellate advocacy, his practice focuses on real estate litigation and property tax assessment appeals. Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for litigation matters. For more information about the firm’s litigation practice, click here.
Miller, Miller & Canby Litigation Attorney, Diane Feuerherd, co-authored a recent Maryland Appelate Blog which is part of a continuing series profiling members of the Court of Special Appeals. She and her co-author, Steve Klepper, interviewed Judge Andrea Leahy, one of the eight At-Large Judges of our intermediate appellate court, in her chambers on Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis.
Click here to read the full article.
In December 2017, Ms. Feuerherd joined the joined the Maryland State Bar Association’s Maryland Appellate Blog as its Blog Manager. Founded in 2013, the Maryland Appellate Blog is sponsored by the MSBA Litigation Section, and is dedicated to disseminating information about appellate practice and appellate law. The blog covers news from Maryland’s Court of Appeals and Court of Special Appeals, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. It features commentary from a number of contributors and guest authors, including coverage of notable arguments, practice tips, commentary on implications of specific rulings or trends, and interviews with appellate judges.
Diane Feuerherd is an associate in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation Practice Group and focuses her practice in appellate, commercial and business litigation. She has successfully represented individuals, property owners, and businesses in a variety of matters ranging from administrative hearings before the Board of Appeals of Montgomery County, to trials in state and federal courts, and to appeals before the Court of Special Appeals and Court of Appeals. She may be reached at 301-762-5212.
- Posted June 1, 2018 at 7:55 PM
- Categories Eminent Domain and Condemnation, Litigation, Real Estate, Press, MM&C Happenings
Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to welcome James (Jamie) Roth to the firm’s Litigation Practice Group, where he will concentrate his practice in real estate litigation with a focus in eminent domain, as well as business and commercial litigation.
“Miller, Miller & Canby’s litigation practice has a long-standing commitment of serving businesses and property owners in our community,” said senior litigation partner James Thompson. “The addition of Jamie, with his comprehensive public and private sector experience, will help us to further expand the breadth of our services during a critical time of growth in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.”
Mr. Roth enjoyed a distinguished career as a successful real estate consultant, including more than twenty years of experience in project management, strategic planning, asset management and risk mitigation.
Prior to joining Miller, Miller & Canby, Mr. Roth was a Senior Consultant for LMI Government Consulting, where he served eleven years as a Real Estate Program Manager to his client, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component agency of the Department of Homeland Security. As an advisor to CBP, Mr. Roth worked closely with realty specialists from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), overseeing the real estate clearance process required for mission critical facility and border security infrastructure construction projects undertaken by CBP's Border Patrol and Air & Marine Program Management Office. In that capacity, he coordinated eminent domain litigation efforts, and supported counsel from CBP, Department of Justice and USACE.
Mr. Roth was awarded a civilian public service medal by Department of the Army for his key role in effecting more than 400 property acquisitions to successfully construct over 600 miles of border fence by 2009. Mr. Roth is also a former U.S. Coast Guard officer. His decorated service included three years as a civil engineer managing the myriad facilities requirements of 24 USCG stations along the Gulf Coast, and three years as Chief Engineer and third-in-command of a 210-foot Cutter in Miami Beach, Florida.
Mr. Roth is admitted to practice law in the state of Maryland. In addition to his law degree from The Catholic University's Columbus School of Law, he holds a MBA from Georgetown University, a B.S. in Civil Engineering from The United States Coast Guard Academy, and is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Click the download button below to view the firm's formal press release. For more information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation Practice, click here or contact Jamie at 301-762-5212.
James L. Thompson Awarded a President’s Citation at Montgomery County Bar Association Annual Meeting
- Posted May 14, 2018 at 5:16 PM
- Categories Eminent Domain and Condemnation, Litigation, Press, MM&C Happenings, Featured Events
Miller, Miller & Canby’s James Thompson was honored, along with Larry Shulman of Shulman Rogers and Mark Goldstein of Paley Rothman, with a President’s Citation for Outstanding Service on Friday, May 4. The three attorneys each received the award at the 2018 Annual Meeting and Law Day Celebration of the Montgomery County Bar Association in Bethesda, Maryland. The men were recognized for re-establishing and bringing new energy to the Senior Lawyers Society of the Montgomery County Bar Foundation.
The Montgomery County Bar Foundation was established to support the Bar Association of Montgomery County, to help educate legal professionals and the general public, and to provide pro bono legal services and charitable support to the community. The Senior Lawyers Society was formed to support senior lawyers in the county so they may continue to be active and to contribute to the legal community and the public. It has quickly become the fastest-growing section of the Bar Association.
After a morning of informative programming, the honorees each received their Citation during a special luncheon featuring keynote speaker U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.
Mr. Thompson’s distinguished career has spanned more than 45 years, during which he has served clients and the legal community. He concentrates his practice in eminent domain, real estate valuation litigation, tax assessment appeals, and civil litigation involving complex real estate and commercial disputes. He has led the litigation practice group at Miller, Miller & Canby for more than 25 years. He may be reached at 301.762.5212 or via email.
Pictured from left to right:
Mark Goldstein, Paley Rothman; Jim Thompson, Miller, Miller & Canby; Larry Shulman, Shulman Rogers; and Lauri Cleary, Lerch, Early & Brewer (Montgomery County Bar Foundation President)
Miller, Miller & Canby's litigation attorney Donna McBride has been re-appointed to serve a second 5-year term as a Committee Member to the Standing Committee of Practice and Procedures. Donna received her first appointment in 2013. The Committee assists the Court of Appeals in developing rules that govern the practice and procedure of law and judicial administration in Maryland. Also known as the Rules Committee, it was appointed by order of the Court of Appeals in 1946.
According the Maryland Constitution, the Court of Appeals is “empowered to regulate the practice and procedure in, and the judicial administration of, the courts of this State; and under Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article § 13-301, the Court of Appeals may appoint a standing committee of lawyers, judges, and other persons competent in judicial practice, procedure, or administration to assist the Court in the exercise of its rulemaking power.”
Procedural rules (also known as court rules) guide the litigant, who usually is represented by an attorney, on how to proceed when bringing a legal dispute into a State or federal court in Maryland. These mandatory rules establish a uniform process for trying cases to ensure that justice is administered fairly.
Donna McBride is a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation group. In her more than two decades of practice, she has tried hundreds of lawsuits throughout the state of Maryland and in the District of Columbia. In addition to her extensive background as a trial lawyer, she is a member of the Trial Courts Judicial Nominating Commission, was elected to be Treasurer of the Montgomery County Bar Association in which capacity she will serve from May 2018-May 2019, and regularly volunteers as a settlement conference facilitator for the District Court. Each year, she has been named a Super Lawyer in the state of Maryland and District of Columbia since 2014. To learn more about Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation practice, contact Donna at 301-762-5212.
- Posted April 18, 2018 at 7:44 PM
- Categories Eminent Domain and Condemnation, Litigation, Press, MM&C Happenings, Featured Events
Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce James L. Thompson has been selected as the Senior Lawyer of the Year by the Maryland State Bar Association Senior Lawyer Section. Mr. Thompson’s distinguished career has spanned more than 45 years, during which he has served clients and the legal community.
Jim Thompson has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, he represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owner’s Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation. Additionally, he focuses in civil litigation, including complex real estate and business/commercial disputes. For his accomplishments, he has been named a Super Lawyer in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia for the past 12 consecutive years, an AV-Rated Preeminent Lawyer for 30 years, a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a 2013 Lawyer of the Year Selection by Best Lawyers in the Eminent Domain/Condemnation area of practice. He has also received a number of prestigious leadership awards, including the Daily Record’s Leadership in Law Award and the Century of Service Award, recognizing the top judges and lawyers in the last 100 years in Montgomery County. In addition, he has served the legal community and the public as the President of both the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association.
Learn more about MM&C's Litigation practice. To view the firm's formal press release, please click the download button below.
- Posted March 8, 2018 at 4:45 PM
- Categories Litigation, Real Estate, Business & Tax, Maryland Property Tax News
In a case of first impression, the Maryland Tax Court recently considered how to value property subject to a 99-year ground lease with a percentage rent arrangement. The unusual property tax case involved a lease that was entered into by a casino operator and shopping mall owner, in which the casino was responsible for the property taxes. Casinos are highly regulated entities in Maryland, with operators required to obtain approval from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission and pay a large licensing fee.
Under the ground lease, the casino was required to pay fixed minimum annual rent plus a variable 1% of annual gross revenues (known as “percentage rent”) generated from gaming and retail sales. The issue before the court was whether the ground lease should be used as the measure to assess fair market value of the land for ad valorem tax purposes. The State argued that the lease must be relied upon under an income approach to value. The casino argued that the ground lease could not be relied upon at all due to its connection to casino revenues. Instead, the casino urged the court to utilize the sales comparable approach as the only reliable measure of land value.
In analyzing the issue, the Tax Court reviewed Maryland and Federal law related to valuing property subject to leases. The general rule is that an assessor must consider the effect of a lease on valuation, but it should not be the controlling document in assessing value. In this case, it was especially true because the ground lease was not a good indicator of property value for these reasons:
The percentage rent provision in the ground lease was speculative and the revenue unknown at the time of execution; and
Including percentage rent in an income approach risks valuing property based on business value instead of property value. Here, approximately two-thirds of the ground rent was derived from the casino business as percentage rent.
The Maryland Tax Court held that such business income was not indicative of property value, particularly since the property cannot be freely sold in its current use due to the special licensing arrangement with the State.
In rejecting the States reliance on an income approach using the ground lease, the Tax Court turned to the casino’s appraisal using a sales comparison approach. The appraisal report listed sales of other properties on which casinos were ultimately constructed – Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore City and the MGM National Harbor Casino on Prince George’s County. The court deemed that sales are the best indicator of land value for the subject property and reduced the land assessment by a whopping $71M for the 2011 tax cycle and $70M for the 2013 tax cycle, which resulted in a massive tax savings for the casino. The case is PPE Casino Resorts Maryland LLC vs. Supervisor of Assessments of Anne Arundel County, Case Nos. 14-RP-AA-0503 (1-2) and 14-RP-AA-1276.
Miller, Miller & Canby has been handling assessment appeals of various types of commercial properties in Maryland for more than 30 years. In 2016, we obtained over $20,000,000 in property assessment reductions for our clients. Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients at the assessor level, before the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB) and in the Maryland Tax Court. We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, hotels, casinos, retail stores, industrial sites, warehouses, apartment buildings and land at various stages of development.
Michael Campbell is a partner in the litigation group at Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to trial and appellate advocacy, his practice focuses on real estate litigation and property tax assessment appeals. Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for property tax guidance. For more information about the firm’s Maryland property tax appeals practice and representative cases, click here.
- Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:06 PM
- Categories Eminent Domain and Condemnation, Litigation, Real Estate, MM&C Happenings, Featured Events
Miller, Miller & Canby Eminent Domain attorney Joseph (Joe) Suntum joined the faculty for the American Law Institute’s 35th Annual Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation Conference, held in Charleston, South Carolina January 25-27, 2018. The conference drew hundreds of eminent domain practitioners from all over the country, and was recommended for experienced practitioners as well as those new to the field. In addition to pertinent information such as effective case planning strategies and tips on staying current in eminent domain practice, discussions were targeted for attendees to learn about emerging issues.
Mr. Suntum’s presentation was part of the “Condemnation 101” portion of the conference directed to new practitioners in the field of eminent domain law, and titled “Back to Basics: An Overview of Common Condemnation Issues.” This was the 10th year that Mr. Suntum was asked to be a member of the faculty for this highly-regarded event. He was joined at the conference by Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain practice group, James Thompson, Diane Feuerherd and Callie Carnemark.
Joe Suntum is a principal with Miller, Miller & Canby and leads the firm’s Eminent Domain and Condemnation Group. His decades of trial experience and his in-depth knowledge of real property valuation and the law of eminent domain allow him to protect his clients’ property rights and maximize compensation for his clients when their properties are targeted for condemnation. Mr. Suntum speaks regularly on issues pertaining to eminent domain practice. He is the Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) member attorney for the State of Maryland. Membership in the OCA, a national network of experienced condemnation attorneys who represent property owners in federal, state and local condemnation proceedings, is restricted to only one member attorney per state.
For more information about the practice of Eminent Domain, or if you have questions about your rights as a property owner, contact Joe Suntum at 301-762-5212.
- Posted January 2, 2018 at 3:31 PM
- Categories Litigation, Real Estate, Business & Tax, Maryland Property Tax News
Last week, the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) issued new Assessment Notices to owners of one-third of all commercial and residential properties in Maryland. For instance, in Montgomery County, commercial properties in Rockville and Gaithersburg were reassessed. In Frederick County, commercial properties in Ijamsville, Emmitsburg, Thurmont and portions of Frederick were reassessed. In Prince George’s County, commercial properties in Bladensburg, District Heights, Landover, Lanham and Suitland were reassessed.
Property owners have 45 days from the date of the Assessment Notice to challenge these new assessments. The “first-level” appeal takes place at the local Assessment Office. If the assessor refuses to reduce the assessment, the owner may file a further appeal to the county Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB). This Board will consider the evidence and issue a written decision, usually within two weeks. If the property owner is still dissatisfied, another appeal may be filed to the Maryland Tax Court.
Miller, Miller & Canby has been challenging the assessments of various types of properties in Maryland for more than 30 years and has obtained substantial reductions in real property assessments for our clients. Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients before the local Assessment Office, PTAAB and the Maryland Tax Court. We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, retail stores, senior living centers, warehouses, industrial sites, casinos, apartment buildings and cemeteries. Let us help you reduce your Maryland property assessments in 2017.
Michael Campbell is a partner in the litigation group at Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to trial and appellate advocacy, his practice focuses on real estate litigation and property tax assessment appeals. Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for property tax guidance or to help reduce your commercial Maryland property tax assessment. For more information about the firm’s Maryland property tax appeals practice and representative cases, click here.