Merging Businesses Beware: MD Court Case Demonstrates Importance of Signed Legal Corporate Documents


A recent decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals serves as a cautionary tale for business owners in Maryland.  In MAS Associates v. Korotki, the parties intended to merge their businesses with an existing limited liability company (LLC), but never signed the requisite corporate documents to solidify their intention. When a dispute arose, two of the owners claimed a partnership existed while one disagreed.  Taking their dispute to the courts, the Court of Appeals ultimately determined that, while intent can be explicit or based on the parties’ conduct and the surrounding circumstances, there was insufficient evidence of a partnership here. Thus, the failure to document the relationship proved fatal to the argument of the majority owners.

Background

During the economic recession of 2009, Harry Korotki sought to initiate a merger with the mortgage lending company he owned, Savings First Mortgage, LLC ("Savings First"), and two other licensed mortgage entities: Greentree Mortgage Corporation ("Greentree"), owned by Joel Wax ("Mr. Wax"), and MAS Associates, LLC d/b/a Equity Mortgage Lending ("MAS"), owned by Saralee Greenberg ("Ms. Greenberg") and Ken Venick ("Mr.Venick"). Post-merger, the three companies were to operate as one, with MAS absorbing Greentree and Savings First, and becoming the surviving entity.

In an effort to memorialize their merger, each party was represented by its own counsel.  However, due to complex regulations governing mortgage companies, the parties selected an independent regulatory counsel to navigate the merger process. At the time of the pre-merger negotiations, it would have been impossible to combine all 3 businesses without some interim steps for the purposes of licensing.  Accordingly, the independent regulatory counsel prepared an "Issues Outline," which served as an outline for an "Interim Agreement." It included arrangements, obligations, and the structure of the business prior to the completion of the merger.

During the fall of 2009, the independent regulatory counsel drafted a new agreement between the parties, memorializing their intention to "ultimately change the membership of [MAS] and the membership percentages . . ."  However, the parties intended for this agreement to take effect once the requisite regulatory approvals had been obtained, which was slated to be three years or more.  The agreement was intended to provide time for each jurisdiction to process such approvals, namely MAS’ change in ownership paperwork, and to act as a limitations period to insulate MAS from potential creditors.

The independent regulatory counsel circulated the initial draft agreement to the parties and their attorneys for review. Two days later, regulatory counsel forwarded the parties a draft Operating Agreement for the new MAS.  Negotiations over the terms of the agreement and the Operating Agreement lasted for several months. However, an agreement over the language of the documents was not finalized, and the parties decided to proceed with business operations without executing the agreement. The parties concluded, because they were not generating revenue, it was not financially sound to continue absorbing legal fees with the regulatory counsel. Rather, they decided to proceed without signing any documents (except for a lease between Wax Properties and MAS).

By summer 2010, the combined mortgage lending business had finally begun turning a profit. Shortly thereafter, the parties agreed to start receiving a salary of $10,000.00 per month each. At that time, they informally agreed that all business decisions and day-to-day executive functions of MAS were to be unanimously approved between them.

At the end of the year, the three men divided MAS's profits evenly among themselves, each receiving $120,000.00. The next week, they each made an additional contribution of $125,000.00 to the business. Then they drew a second profit distribution, totaling $64,500.00 each.  Thereafter, as MAS began to grow, so did its need to secure additional lines of credit. As collateral to secure a line of credit, Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Wax agreed to pledge their own, personal resources. However, Mr. Korotki refused to be personally liable for any amounts exceeding his one-third share; which eventually led to the unraveling of the venture.

In the spring, Mr. Korotki informed Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Wax of his decision to quit. When Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Wax allegedly refused to negotiate the terms of his departure and buyout, Mr. Korotki filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County for breach of contract and declaratory judgment under RUPA. After several years of litigation and the associated legal costs, the trial court ruled that the parties intended to form a partnership.

The appeal by MAS Associates was elevated to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.  The ruling at the Court of Special Appeals affirmed the trial court.  Specifically, the Court of Special Appeals ruled that the parties entered a “joint venture” in the short period of time between not signing the agreement and when they couldn’t agree to the terms of the merger.  

MAS Associates appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals and Judge Adkins reversed the lower court, holding: “The party asserting the existence of a partnership bears the burden of producing sufficient facts to conclusively demonstrate the parties’ intent to form a partnership. Intent can be explicit or based on the parties’ conduct and the surrounding circumstances. Sharing profits and losses, equal management authority, making capital contributions, and whether the parties were concurrently seeking to form another type of business entity can all be factors the courts consider when evaluating intent.

Here, the trial court made an error of law when it concluded that Harry Korotki’s $275,000 in payments to Saralee Greenberg were capital contributions for a new entity, and to the extent that it applied a presumption of partnership based on receipt of profits, it also made an error of law. As for the other factors and evidence, taken together, the record lacks competent material evidence to conclude the parties formed a partnership and the trial court was clearly erroneous in concluding that they did.”


The Court of Appeals concluded that the parties, throughout the course of their business relationship and dealings, demonstrated that they never abandoned their pursuit of acquiring the membership interest in MAS.  Specifically, the Court ruled that it is a contradiction of Maryland law to simultaneously sustain the dual intention of acquiring an existing LLC’s membership interest and of forming a partnership or joint venture. The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed the Court of Special Appeals (and the trial court).  

Important Factors for Businesses Considering a Merger

  1. Hire Business Law Counsel 
    The parties in this case hired independent regulatory counsel to guide them through the merger as well as personal business law attorneys.  The regulatory counsel devised a plan whereby the parties would eventually become members of the LLC. 

  2. Negotiate and Execute Agreements
    The regulatory counsel drafted documents per the instructions of the parties, the parties just couldn’t come to an agreement with certain aspects of the agreements – so instead of resolving them, they just never signed them and conducted business without certainty.

  3. Understand the Risk of Operating a Business Without Executed Agreements
    Independent counsel warned the parties and their representatives that it would be difficult to determine their rights and obligations without signed agreements.  While the parties disagreed over some points, namely liability, had they executed the agreements or more effectively communicated with regulatory counsel, it could have protected their interests as it related to their business relationship with one another.  Instead, the parties conducted business activities as though an agreement was executed – in other words, they didn’t let the lack of a signed business contract get in the way of transacting business.  Despite their regulatory counsel’s repeated recommendations and warnings, they ignored his advice. 

  4. Trusted Business Law Advice May Reduce Your Future Legal Fees
    The lesson here is that your actions and conduct today can potentially be used either against you, or in your favor, in the future.  In the absence of signed agreements, the Court had to look to the actions and conduct of the parties.  The parties ignored the independent regulatory counsel’s warnings and advice because they didn’t want to pay the legal bills (based on the testimony of one party).  A trusted business law attorney makes sure their clients understand that they are looking out for their best interests.  Clients are better served by paying legal fees to structure their business appropriately, rather than incur problems and costly litigation later.

Chris Young is an associate in the Business & Tax practice at Miller, Miller & Canby. He focuses his practice on corporate legal agreements, business formation, tax controversy work and helping clients deal with new tax regulations. He may be reached at 301-762-5212 or via email.  View more information about Miller, Miller & Canby's Business & Tax practice by clicking here.

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.





Attorneys James Thompson and Jody Kline Selected for 2020 Best Lawyers in America® for 14th Year


Miller, Miller & Canby’s James (Jim) Thompson and Joel (Jody) Kline have been named Best Lawyers for the 2020 edition of Best Lawyers in America.®  Both attorneys have been recognized on the Best Lawyers list in their respective areas of practice every year since first being named in 2007. Mr. Thompson has been recognized for Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law and Mr. Kline for Land Use and Zoning Law.  Mr. Thompson is also named a “Best Lawyer of the Year” for 2020 for his accomplishments.   This is the second year Mr. Thompson has achieved this recognition.

Jim Thompson
has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain (with partner Joseph Suntum) and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals (with partner Michael Campbell) and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, Mr. Thompson represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owners’ 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. He has also served in numerous leadership roles within the legal community in Maryland, including President of the Maryland State Bar Association.

Jody Kline
has led Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Development department since 1981, focusing his practice in land use, zoning and subdivision law and representing clients in many of Montgomery County’s planning and economic development initiatives. In addition to zoning and subdivision law, he represents clients in matters related to master planning, zoning text amendments, conditional use permits, building permit issuance, and other administrative and real estate matters related to land use and development. His clients include residential and commercial developers, private individuals, religious institutions, private schools, non-profit entities and municipal corporations and agencies.

Best Lawyers in America is the oldest and most respected attorney ranking service in the country. Recognition is based entirely on peer review. For more than 30 years, the organization has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the attorneys best qualified to represent them across hundreds of areas of practice.

Best Lawyers publishes a stand-alone publication which announces recognized attorneys. Best Lawyers lists are also published in local, regional, and national print and digital versions of leading publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Washington Post.

For more information about Jim Thompson and Miller, Miller & Canby’s Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law practice click here or for information about Jody Kline and Miller, Miller & Canby's Land Use and Zoning Law practice click here. View the firm press release by clicking the Download button below.
 





MM&C Attorney James Thompson Selected 2020 Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of The Year"


Miller, Miller & Canby’s James (Jim) Thompson has been named a Lawyer of the Year for the 2020 edition of Best Lawyers in America.®  This is the second year Mr. Thompson has achieved this recognition.  

Jim Thompson
has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain (with partner Joseph Suntum) and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals (with partner Michael Campbell) and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, Mr. Thompson represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owners’ 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. He has also served in numerous leadership roles within the legal community in Maryland, including President of the Maryland State Bar Association.

The “Lawyer of the Year” recognition is exclusive, meaning there is only one attorney selected for each metropolitan area and practice area. Mr. Thompson also won this recognition in 2013.

Best Lawyers in America is the oldest and most respected attorney ranking service in the country. Recognition is based entirely on peer review. For more than 30 years,  the organization has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the attorneys best qualified to represent them across hundreds of areas of practice.

Best Lawyers publishes a stand-alone publication which announces recognized attorneys. Best Lawyers lists are also published in local, regional, and national print and digital versions of leading publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Washington Post.

For more information about Jim Thompson and Miller, Miller & Canby’s Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law practice click here or for information about the Maryland Property Tax Appeals practice click here. View the firm press release by clicking the Download button below.
 





Michael Campbell Begins Presidency of Montgomery County Inn of Court


Miller, Miller & Canby’s Michael Campbell has begun a one-year term as President of the Montgomery County Inn of the American Inns of Court.  The American Inns of Court is a national association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals who share a passion for legal excellence.  The mission of the organization is to “inspire the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education and mentoring.”

“I am honored to assume this role for the coming year, and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and our legal community, furthering the mission of the American Inns of Court,” said Mr. Campbell.

Through monthly meetings, the Inn 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.  The Montgomery County Inn of Court boasts 136 active members. Its meeting in September will feature Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

Mr. Campbell is a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby’s litigation group, with a practice that is diverse and extensive. He focuses his practice on real estate and construction disputes in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia and before arbitration panels. He handles cases relating to commercial and residential construction projects, property and lease disputes, property tax appeals, and other commercial matters.

View the firm press release by clicking the Download button below.





Maryland Holds the Line on Property Tax Rate; But Buyers Should Consider Total Tax Burden


Recently, the Maryland Board of Public Works voted to keep the state property tax rate at its current level.  The Board is composed of the Governor, Comptroller and State Treasurer.  Governor Larry Hogan, a fiscal conservative, announced that holding the rate was part of his commitment to “prudent capital spending.”  As a result, the state tax rate will remain at 11.2 cents per $100 of assessed value, or 0.112% of total value.  That means a property assessed at $1,000,000 will incur a state tax of $1,120 annually.

While this might suggest good news for Maryland property owners, the state property tax is only a small portion of the overall tax burden on properties.  Each non-exempt property is also subject to county property taxes and, in some jurisdictions, municipal property taxes as well.  For instance, in Montgomery County, a D.C. suburb and the most populated county in the State, the current county tax rate is 0.9927%, which adds another $9,927 in taxes for a $1,000,000 assessment.  Further, a person owning property in Takoma Park, located inside Montgomery County and on the D.C. border, would pay an additional municipal tax of 0.5291.  Consequently, a non-exempt property assessed at $1,000,000 in Takoma Park is subject to a total property tax rate of 1.6338%, equaling $16,338 in annual property taxes.

Other Maryland municipalities that impose a third layer of property taxes include Frederick City (0.73%), Hyattsville (0.63%), and Annapolis (0.54%). When considering the location and timing of purchasing property in the Maryland, buyers should consider the total property taxes imposed annually.  Moreover, if the pre-purchase assessment is lower than the purchase price, the buyer can generally expect the assessment to increase up to the purchase price for the next triennial assessment cycle. The local assessment offices track sales of properties and will pick up the sale price when issuing new assessments.

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. We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, retail stores, senior living centers, warehouses, industrial sites, casinos, apartment buildings, golf courses and cemeteries. 
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.





Miller, Miller & Canby Announces Five Attorneys Named as 2019 DC Super Lawyers


Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce our attorneys who have been named to the list of Super Lawyers in the D.C. Metropolitan area for 2019. Attorneys James Thompson, Jody Kline and Donna McBride have been once again selected for this honor, and attorneys Diane Feuerherd and Callie Carnemark have been named to the 2019 Rising Stars list, which recognizes attorneys under the age of 40.

2019 marks the 13th year that James (Jim) Thompson has been named to the list. He has led Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation Group for more than 25 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain and real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals. For more than a decade, Mr. Thompson represented Maryland in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area. In 2018, Mr. Thompson was recognized with the President's Citation for Outstanding Service by the Montgomery County Bar Association. He was also selected as the Senior Lawyer of the Year by the Maryland State Bar Association. 

Jody Kline has been a named Super Lawyer for each of the past 12 years, and has led Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Development and Zoning practice group since 1981. He focuses his practice in land use, zoning and subdivision law and representing clients in many of Montgomery County’s planning and economic development initiatives. In addition to zoning and subdivision law, he represents clients in matters related to master planning, zoning text amendments, conditional use permits, building permit issuance, and other administrative and real estate matters related to land use and development.

Donna McBride has been a named Super Lawyer since 2014, and has been a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation practice since 2009. She focuses her practice in litigation in the following areas:  business and commercial, employment, estates and trusts, personal injury and insurance, as well as real estate. In 2019, Ms. McBride was admitted to the American College of Trial Lawyers as a Fellow. In addition to her background as a trial lawyer, Ms. McBride is a member of the Court of Appeals Standing Committee of Rules of Practice and Procedure, where she was appointed to serve a second 5-year term beginning in 2018. She is also a member of the Trial Court's Judicial Nominating Commission, the Montgomery County Inn of Court, a former co-chair and current member of the Maryland State Bar Association's Judicial Selections Committee and has volunteered as a mediator for the District Court since 2008. In 2018, she was elected to serve as Treasurer for the Montgomery County Bar Association, to serve the 2018-2019 term. 

2019 is the fourth year that attorney Diane Feuerherd has been named to the Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list. She has briefed and successfully argued cases before the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals, including a notable representation of a commercial developer challenging the validity of Montgomery County’s Rain Tax.  Ms. Feuerherd is active in state and local bar associations, including:  the Maryland State Bar Association, where she was named a Fellow of the prestigious Leadership Academy and now serves on the Judicial Appointments Committee; the Bar Association of Montgomery County; and the Montgomery County Inns of Court. In 2016, she was appointed to a social media workgroup for the Judicial Council, which is a policy advisory body to the Maryland Judiciary. She has also worked with the Finding Justice Project, a committee of the Women's Bar Association Foundation, to research and memorialize the history of women lawyers. 

2019 is the first year that attorney Callie Carnemark has been recognized as a Super Lawyers “Rising Star.” An associate in the Litigation group, she focuses her practice on real estate and business litigation as well as the firm’s appellate practice. She is a member of the Montgomery County Inns of Court, the Montgomery County Bar Association, the Maryland State Bar Association and the Montgomery County Women’s Bar Association. She is a graduate of the 2017 Class of the Montgomery County Bar Association Leadership Academy. 

These five attorneys join other Miller, Miller & Canby attorneys previously named Super Lawyers including Joe Suntum, who practices in the field of eminent domain and commercial litigation, and Pat McKeever, whose practice focuses in real estate law.

Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in the nation’s capital through a patented multiphased selection process which involves independent research, as well as peer nomination and review/evaluation. The objective is to create a comprehensive listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and a variety of firm sizes. The lists are published annually in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers nationwide. In 2019 the DC list will be published in the June issue of Washington Lawyer magazine and The Washington Post Magazine on Sunday, April 21, which reaches more than 800,000 readers.

View the firm press release by clicking the Download button below.





2019 Women’s Bar Association Triennial Auction Raises More Than $80,000


The Triennial Auction of the Women’s Bar Association, held on March 9 at the Silver Spring Civic Center in Maryland, raised more than $80,000 this year. The majority of the proceeds will go to fund the association’s annual undergraduate and law school scholarship programs.   Miller, Miller & Canby was proud to support this year’s event as a table sponsor.  MMC attorney Callie Carnemark was the Auction Committee’s Donations Chair, serving alongside dozens of fellow members of the Montgomery County Bar. “I was honored to work with so many of my peers in support of the educational and community service initiatives of the Women’s Bar Association,” said Ms. Carnemark. “The work of the Association to support female attorneys is critical to our legal community.”

The Women's Bar Association of Maryland (WBA) is a specialty bar association of women and men supporting women in the legal profession and working for equal rights and opportunities for women in the legal profession and the community.  The WBA offers its members opportunities for personal and professional growth, networking and business development, and leadership.
 
Callie Carnemark
is an associate with the Litigation Practice Group at Miller, Miller & Canby. Ms. Carnemark focuses her practice on real estate and business litigation as well as the firm's appellate practice. She can be reached at ccarnemark@mmcanby.com or 301.762.5212.





Should Maryland Commercial Property Owners Complete Tax Questionnaires?


Every year, the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) is tasked with reassessing one-third of all commercial properties in the state.  In the year prior to the reassessment, SDAT is required to obtain income and expense information from the property owner.  The information allows the assessor to determine the value of the property using an income approach.  This approach determines value by taking gross income (e.g., rent, CAM reimbursements and other income), applying a vacancy rate and deducting property-related expenses such as maintenance, repairs, utilities, insurance, professional fees (attorney or accountant) and management fees.  The resulting net operating income (NOI) is then divided by an appropriate capitalization rate to reach a final value.

Types of SDAT Property Questionnaires
There are several different types of questionnaires issued by SDAT, each tailored to the type of property being reassessed.  These include apartments, hotels, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, cemeteries, garages and parking lots, mobile home parks, marinas, golf courses and commercial/industrial properties.  The owner is asked to complete the questionnaire and return it to the local Assessment Office by May 15.  

Are Property Tax Questionnaire Submissions Mandatory?
Property owners often inquire whether the submission of the questionnaire is mandatory, and what happens if the questionnaire is not returned.  The answer depends upon the value of the property.  For income-producing property that has a value in excess of $5,000,000, as listed on the assessment roll, the owner is subject to a statutory penalty for failing to produce the information.  The penalty is $100 per day up to a maximum equal to 0.1% of the value of the property.  For instance, a property assessed at $6,000,000 would be subject to a penalty up to $6,000 for the failure to submit the competed questionnaire.

Despite the statutory mandate, there can be instances where the property owner would rather incur a penalty than submit income and expense information to SDAT.  A classic example is where the property is under-assessed by a large margin and submission of the income information would likely cause a significant increase in the assessment. Conversely, a property owner who is not required to submit a questionnaire might want to do so in certain situations. In this instance, the property may be over-assessed and the income and expense information will educate the assessor and likely lead to a reduction in the assessment.

What Should Owner-Occupied Properties Submit?
For properties that are owner-occupied, there is no stream of rental income to report to SDAT.  In this situation, the owner should return the questionnaire without inserting the income and expense data and simply note: “Owner-Occupied.”  The Assessment Office will then estimate market rent and expenses in order to conduct an income approach to value. Occasionally, an owner will have a “friendly lease” with itself or a closely related entity that holds title to the property.  Since this is not an arms-length lease, the rental income should not be reported on the questionnaire because it is unlikely to reflect fair market rent.

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. We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, retail stores, senior living centers, warehouses, industrial sites, casinos, apartment buildings, golf courses and cemeteries.  

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.





MM&C Litigation Attorney Joseph Suntum Selected as Board Member of Owners’ Counsel of America


Miller, Miller & Canby litigation attorney, Joseph (Joe) Suntum, was nominated and selected as one of three new Board Members of Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) for 2019.

"I have known all three of these individuals for a long time," says OCA Executive Director Leslie Fields, "and I am confident they will bring a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm to the task of leading this great organization."

Click here
to read the March 6, 2019 press release by The Owners' Counsel of America.

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.

U.S. News - Best Lawyers awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a “First-Tier” honor for its Eminent Domain and Condemnation practice. For information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain and condemnation practice click here, or contact Mr. Suntum directly at 301.762.5212 or via email.





Donna E. McBride Admitted to American College of Trial Lawyers


Miller, Miller & Canby’s Donna McBride has become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in North America.

The induction ceremony at which Ms. McBride became a Fellow took place on March 2nd before an audience of 570 during the recent Induction Ceremony at the 2019 Spring Meeting of the College in La Quinta, California. The meeting had a total attendance of 750.

Founded in 1950, the College is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the College is extended by invitation only and only after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers of diverse backgrounds, who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality. Lawyers must have a minimum of fifteen years trial experience before they can be considered for Fellowship.

Membership in the College cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province. There are currently approximately 5,800 members in the United States and Canada, including active Fellows, Emeritus Fellows, Judicial Fellows (those who ascended to the bench after their induction) and Honorary Fellows. The College maintains and seeks to improve the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice through education and public statements on independence of the judiciary, trial by jury, respect for the rule of law, access to justice, and fair and just representation of all parties to legal proceedings. The College is thus able to speak with a balanced voice on important issues affecting the legal profession and the administration of justice.

Donna McBride
is a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation group, with a trial practice that is diverse and extensive. 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 background as a trial lawyer, Ms. McBride is a member of the Court of Appeals Standing Committee of Rules of Practice and Procedure, where she was appointed to serve a second 5-year term beginning in 2018. She is also a member of the Trial Court's Judicial Nominating Commission, the Montgomery County Inn of Court, a former co-chair and current member of the Maryland State Bar Association's Judicial Selections Committee and has volunteered as a mediator for the District Court since 2008. In 2018, she was elected to serve as Treasurer for the Montgomery County Bar Association, to serve the 2018-2019 term.

The newly inducted Fellow is an alumna of the American University Washington College of Law.

For more information about Donna McBride and Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation practice click here. View the firm press release by clicking the Download button below.
 





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