- Posted January 5, 2017 at 7:26 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. Property owners have 45 days from the date of the Assessment Notice to challenge these new assessments. The “first-level” appeal allows the owner the opportunity to convince the assessor that the assessment is incorrect. If the assessor refuses to reduce the assessment, the owner may file a further appeal within 30 days to the county Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB). The 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 protesting the assessments of various types of commercial properties and high-value residential 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, casinos, apartment buildings, cemeteries and property being developed. 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.
In 2016, Miller, Miller & Canby celebrated 70 years of serving the legal needs of our community. We celebrated this milestone anniversary through several initiatives and public service projects.
Our last event of the year was the donation of 70 wreaths to Wreaths Across America and volunteering to lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday December 17th. MM&C employees and their families also participated in laying wreaths and remembering those men and women who served our country. The 2016 Wreaths Across America theme was to “#SayTheirNames.” Volunteers were reminded that when you place the wreath, you may be the first person to visit that particular grave in years, and were asked to “Say Their Names” to honor the memory of that hero. This event has special meaning to Miller, Miller & Canby as, James R. Miller, Sr., who along with his wife founded our firm, was a Marine who served in WWII and was awarded the Silver Star for Valor. Many others who subsequently joined Miller, Miller & Canby, were also members of our country’s Armed Services, including Bill Canby (USN), Robert Burchett (US Army), Jim Thompson (USMC), Lew Schumann (USAF) and Jody Kline (US Army-Special Forces).
We recognize that our 70th anniversary is in many respects due to the relationships we have built and maintained with you, our clients, friends and the business community. For many, these relationships have been long-standing and span multiple generations. So, as we celebrated our firm's anniversary in 2016, we also celebrated our relationships with you, and the continued trust that you have placed in us to represent and counsel you in your business and personal affairs. We invite you to learn more about our firm’s history here.
A new Montgomery County ordinance took effect on October 1, 2016, which now requires Employers in Montgomery County to provide certain paid sick and safe leave, to expand the permitted uses of this sick and safe leave, and to permit certain carryovers of unused leave into the next year. Do the provisions of your current employee Handbook comply with these new requirements? Are your policies consistent with the law? If not, an experienced business law attorney can assist you in these areas.
A summary of the principal provisions of the new requirements are as follows:
- Employers must allow employees who regularly work more than eight (8) hours each week to accrue paid time off in order to provide care for themselves or family members in cases of illness, preventative care, or in response to sexual violence or stalking.
- Employers in Montgomery County are required to provide each employee earned sick and safe leave for work performed in the County paid at the same rate and with the same benefits that the employee normally earns.
- An employer with less than 5 employees is only required to provide up to 32 hours of paid sick and safe leave and 24 hours of unpaid sick and safe leave in a calendar year.
- An employer with 5 or more employees is required to provide up to 56 hours of paid sick and safe leave in a calendar year.
- An employee can carryover up to 56 hours of unused sick and safe leave into the next calendar year.
- The definition of activities qualifying for sick and safe leave has been expanded.
- Employers must keep records for at least 3 years of: (i) earned sick and safe leave by each employee and (ii) earned sick and safe leave used by each employee.
The business law attorneys at Miller, Miller, and Canby can assist employers with setting up or updating their employee handbook, so that it complies with the County’s ordinance on sick and safe leave. To learn more about MM&C’s business law practice and to contact one of the firm’s business law attorneys click here.
- Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:23 PM
- Categories Eminent Domain and Condemnation, Litigation, Land Development, Press, MM&C Happenings, Business & Tax, Featured Events
Miller, Miller & Canby is proud to announce that attorneys James (Jim) L. Thompson, Joel (Jody) Kline and Donna McBride have been selected to the 2017 Maryland Super Lawyers list and attorney Diane Feuerherd has been named to the 2017 Rising Stars list, which recognizes attorneys under the age of 40. No more than five percent of the lawyers in Maryland are selected by Super Lawyers.
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 Joe Suntum) and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals 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. Currently Mr. Suntum is the selected member for the state of Maryland. With Mr. Thompson’s breadth of legal experience, proven results, mature judgment, and tenured leadership within the judicial system and the bar, having served as president of the Maryland State Bar Association, he brings the ideal blend of proven trial experience and legal skill to client representations.
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.
Donna McBride, a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation practice since 2009, has tried hundreds of lawsuits throughout the state of Maryland and in the District of Columbia, approximately 100 of which were jury trials. 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 addition to her extensive background as a trial lawyer, Ms. McBride is a co-chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Judicial Selections Committee, served on the Character Committee for the Court of Appeals, is a member of the Montgomery Inn of Court and volunteers as a mediator for the District Court. She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association and on the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Diane Feuerherd is an associate in the firm’s Litigation practice, focusing in appellate, employment, commercial and business litigation. Ms. Feuerherd joined the firm in the fall of 2013 after serving for two years as an appellate law clerk to the Honorable Lynne A. Battaglia of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the State’s highest court. In her two years since joining the firm, Diane has briefed and successfully argued cases before the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals, and, most recently represented a commercial developer challenging the validity of Montgomery County’s “Rain Tax.” She is an active member of the Montgomery County Inns of Court and the Montgomery County Bar Association. She also contributes her time to the Finding Justice Project, a committee of the Women’s Bar Association Foundation, researching and memorializing the history of women lawyers in Maryland.
Mr. Thompson has been named a Super Lawyer for each of the past 11 years; Mr. Kline for the past 10 years, and Ms. McBride since 2014. 2017 is the second year Ms. Feuerherd has been selected as a Rising Star. They join other Miller, Miller & Canby attorneys previously named Super Lawyers, including Joe Suntum and Pat McKeever.
Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes, assuring a credible and relevant annual list.
The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes:
• Peer nominations
• Independent research by Super Lawyers
• Evaluations from a highly credentialed panel of attorneys
The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as the Maryland Super Lawyers Digital Magazine. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to SuperLawyers.com.
Click the download button below to view the firm's formal press release. Click here to view the digital article in The Daily Record.
- Posted November 17, 2016 at 4:31 PM
- Categories Legal News & Notes Newsletter
The November 2016 issue of Miller, Miller & Canby's Legal News & Notes quarterly email newsletter covers the firm's new litigation attorney, Jim Thompson's Maryland Tax Appeals Case "Top 10 Ad Valorem Tax Cases", Valuation Discounts Ending for Gift & Estate Tax Planning, and much more. Click here to view newsletter.
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- Posted October 30, 2016 at 3:53 PM
- Categories MM&C Happenings
Celebrating our 70th Anniversary provides us an opportunity to reflect on our heritage as a law firm and the individuals whose contributions impacted our growth and the clients and community we serve, as well as the legal profession. It is also an opportunity for us to share this history with you, our clients and friends, who have been as much a part of this history as the attorneys who have been privileged to serve you. This is the third of a four-part reflection on our journey as a law firm and of the attorneys who were a part of it.
Increasing Workload and Growth Brings Litigation Attorney James L. Thompson to the Firm
Aware that Jim Miller, Jr. was likely to be leaving the firm soon, and in any event responding to an increasing work load; in the early spring of 1970 Bill Canby started looking with his partners’ encouragement for another associate. He came across a young Marine officer, a graduate of Yale undergraduate and University of Virginia Law School, who was leaving the service and wanted to practice in Montgomery County where he had grown up and gone to high school. Hence the prospect of the association of James (“Jim”) L. Thompson with Miller, Miller & Canby.
Jim Thompson was a great find for the firm. He was intelligent, mature, a leader, self-possessed and articulate. As soon as he was interviewed, the partners knew that he was the person they were looking for to help with the existing workload and, if things worked out as it seemed they would, to bridge the gap to be left by the departure of Jim Miller, Jr. He was offered a position as an associate, and he accepted in the summer of 1970.
Strong Partnerships Make the Firm a Great Place to Work
From 1970 to the present, the firm continued to grow, and the partners and associates continued to prosper from that growth. It isn’t practical in this history of the firm to give the deserved attention and credit to all of the partners and associates who have contributed to its success because there are too many of them. Most would agree that the nucleus over those years was comprised of Bill Canby who came on board in 1961, Bob Burchett in 1966, Jim Thompson in 1970, Lew Schumann in 1973 and Jody Kline in 1974. They set a standard. All, except Bill Canby and Bob Burchett, remain with the firm as of this writing. This says something about the firm itself--it is a good place to work and the partners/shareholders get along, as does the staff.
The Passing of Bill Canby and Retirement of Bob Burchett
Tragically, Bill sustained a fatal accident in September 1994 while vacationing with his wife (Judy) and children. Bill had gone into semi-retirement and took on an “Of Counsel” designation with the firm on January 1, 1993. The survivors in the firm believe that the wisdom that Bill demonstrated in his thirty (30) plus years with the firm has been passed along to those still here who had the good fortune of knowing and working with him.
Bob Burchett retired from the Firm in 1998 after thirty-two (32) years of practice. Both Bill and Bob’s earned retirement years were way too short, but their impact on the Firm and the lawyers they mentored continues on to this day.
Jim Miller, Jr. Returns to Firm from Retirement
Bill’s loss was tempered by the legal ability, dedication and the leadership of the partners who were in place at that time, including Lew Schumann, Jody Kline, Jim Thompson and Bob Burchett. In addition, it was the firm’s good fortune of having Jim Miller, Jr., return in August 1991. After giving his all to service as a judge on the United States District Court of Maryland for sixteen (16) years, Jim decided to retire. After five (5) years of retirement, his mental and physical energy was restored, and he was ready to return to the practice of law doing mediation and arbitration, principally. Although Jim had many opportunities available to him, he decided that what he really wanted to do was return to his roots.
Lew Schumann’s Leadership and Dedication as Managing Partner
Another special note of appreciation and recognition must be given to Lew Schumann who served as the managing partner of the firm for approximately twenty (20) years while at the same time carrying a full case load. He served with wisdom and distinction in both positions. As a tax and business lawyer, he helped numerous clients structure their operations to maximize their profits, cut their taxes and maintain flexibility to deal with contingencies. He also helped clients in estate planning where he could make complex tax regulations simple. During Lew’s management, the firm emerged from the old ways of management that were customary in rural and suburban law partnerships and became a corporation with a structure and a more sophisticated approach to day-to-day and long-term operations. The firm evolved into specialized practice areas, modernized its legal research and improved its filing and record keeping.
An Undeniable Reputation of Legal Advocacy and Success
Throughout its history, the firm and its lawyers have maintained a reputation with the Bench, the Bar, the public and its clients that present members are proud of and will do whatever it takes to maintain. One small example is that four (4) past presidents of the Bar Association of Montgomery County have been lawyers with the firm, even though the firm’s size at this time varied from four (4) to eight (8) lawyers. Also, this was accomplished during the time when to achieve that position it was necessary to win a contested election rather than have the office passed on to a successor who was next in line. Clearly, our fellow lawyers in the County respected our partners and recognized their leadership. Our past presidents are Jim Miller (1969-70), Bill Canby (1977-78), Jim Thompson (1987-88) and Pat McKeever (1993-94). Jim Thompson took it to the next level and was elected President of the Maryland State Bar Association (“MSBA”) after having served on the Board of Governors for three (3) terms and chairman of numerous MSBA committees.
As the firm approached the 1990’s, the future was bright. There remained a strong and dedicated nucleus of old timers surrounded by an equally strong and dedicated group of new arrivals, including both shareholders and associates. The firm was well positioned to carry on its outstanding history of service to the profession and its clients into the next century.
Client Focused. Results Driven.
Some of the keys to the firm’s ongoing success included the quality of the lawyers dedicated to excellent representation of clients, plus the firm’s reputation and the good results which clients received for reasonable fees. They were well satisfied and the firm prospered and our representative clients at that time were very impressive. Some of our representative clients included Sandy Spring Bank, Bank of Bethesda, The Barlow Corporation, The Glen Construction Co., Pumphrey Funeral Homes, The Barrie School, Montgomery General Hospital, Montgomery Mutual Insurance Company, Minkoff Development company, Asbury Methodist Home (Now Village), and several of the major country clubs--Congressional, Bethesda, Manor, Burning Tree, Columbia--plus major developers--Roger Eisinger and Lazlo Tauber, and others. In addition, our ad valorem tax practice grew to include in later years many large retail stores like Sears, K-Mart, Macy’s and Target.
Our prosperity was helped by the significant contributions that Jody Kline made in his area of land use and zoning, where he became one of the most pre-eminent lawyers in Montgomery County in this practice area. Jody was a graduate from Washington & Lee University as an undergraduate, and from the law school. When Bill Canby, also a Washington & Lee graduate, saw that, there was immediate interest and ultimate compatibility. We were fortunate to hire him in 1974. After learning the ropes, he took off and the rest is history. Not only did he do excellent work, but his clients came back and referred other clients to him and to the firm. This took place prior to the time that lawyers’ advertising was permitted.
The Evolution of Specialized Law Practice
During the 1970’s, the firm evolved in several important respects. First, we began to evolve from a general practice law firm where each lawyer was expected to undertake legal representation in every area of law practice, to becoming a more specialized law practice in the late 70’s and early 80’s focused on all issues touching real property (land use, zoning, eminent domain, ad valorem tax appeals, sale and lease transactions, and financing),the related business needs of clients (business and tax, and estates and trusts) and litigation that flowed from these practice areas.
Our specialization evolved from the specific legal talents and abilities of our attorneys, as those who were excellent in land use and zoning focused their practice in that area and other attorneys with interests and skills in other areas became experts in those fields. Other areas of practice were eliminated, such as criminal law and, after Bob Burchett’s departure, domestic relations. Because of these changes, our attorneys became more focused and rose to the top of their practice areas. This resulted in professional recognition as all of our nucleus lawyers became A-rated lawyers, and then, as the various lawyer rating systems proliferated, all became recognized as some of the finest attorneys in their respective practice areas.
Jim Thompson was elected to be a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers which is a limited to the top one percent (1%) of trial lawyers in the United States. As the litigation department grew, the decision was made to expand the lawyers in the firm with those abilities, and we were fortunate to acquire Joseph P. Suntum as a new associate in 1988. After his judicial clerkship and his service in the Public Defender’s office where he earned a reputation as an outstanding trial advocate Joe joined the firm and has become one of our finest trial lawyers. He successfully tried multi-million dollar civil cases concerning a variety of legal and factual issues—and defended those trial victories in the courts of appeal. Now he has focused those talents in the field of Eminent Domain, where he represents property owners whose property is acquired by government for public projects and uses. Because of his expertise and the excellent results he’s achieved, he has been selected by the Owner’s Counsel for America to be its only Maryland member--the best in Maryland.
This expansion paid off, as did our trial successes and our appellate work. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, the firm had over fifty (50) appellate cases in which members of the firm , appeared as counsel before the Courts of Appeal and argued cases which set precedent in numerous areas of the law, among them are: Supervisor of Assessments vs. Ort Children Trust IV, 294 Md. 195 (1982) (because capitalized income was a legitimate basis for determining a property’s full cash value, the tax court did not err in reducing assessed value of property to reflect a long -term below-market lease); Lerner vs. Lerner, 306 Md. 771 (1986) (preliminary injunction against freeze-out of minority shareholder’s interest was proper as he faced irreparable harm if such a freeze-out and other complications arising which could be avoided by maintaining the status quo); Mayor of Baltimore City vs. Valsamaki, 397 Md. 222 (2007) (when the trial court properly denied the city’s petition for quick-take condemnation of the Valsamaki property because the city failed to articulate the reasons why it was necessary to have the property for immediate possession and title; hence, quick-take was not appropriate); County Federal Savings & Loan Association vs. Equitable Savings & Loan Association, 261 Md. 246 (1971) (a savings and loan association reforming under Maryland law was property allowed to keep its District of Columbia branches where they served a significant number of Maryland customers whose best interest was served by their continued operation); Supervisor of Assessments vs. Asbury Methodist Home, Inc., 313 Md. 614 (1988) (Asbury apartments were not entitled to tax exemption because they were not actually used for charitable purposes and the test for tax exempt status was whether the property was necessary for charitable purposes); and Charles Browning vs. Commission of Internal Revenue, 109 T.C. 16 (1997) (charitable contribution of farmland development density to preserve farm preservation in Howard County was tax deductible over and above price paid by County).
As practice areas grew new lawyers were brought in in each of the major practice areas: Litigation, Zoning and Land Use, Business, Taxation and Estates and Trusts and Real Estate Transactions and Planning adding depth and providing continuity into the future in each practice area. As time passed and the firm evolved, we developed a loose-knit team at not only the partnership and management level, but also at the level of associates. In this regard, the firm has experienced several things which many suburban firms did not. For example, MM&C has never lost a partner or shareholder in an adverse situation where the person was fired or terminated for cause or left because he or she was unhappy here. Also, the partners or shareholders put the firm first ahead of selfish and personal interests, and this was a major contribution to firm unity. In consideration of these several factors and the pleasant work environment, the attorneys and the staff find MM&C a good place to work. Hence, several employees have been here for more than 40 years and lawyers and, staff alike, have made the firm a professional home for their entire work careers.
The quality of the firm and its continued excellence depends upon the quality of its lawyers. We were fortunate in the ‘70s and ‘80s to have attorneys on board who could pick up the practice areas and continue the standard of excellence set by Jim Miller, Jr., and Bill Canby.
Miller, Miller & Canby litigation attorney Callie Carnemark has been selected to the 2016-2017 Class of Fellows for the Montgomery County Bar Association’s Leadership Development Academy.
The Academy identifies attorneys who possess leadership qualities and provides opportunities for them to develop their skills in preparation for future roles within the Bar association and the legal community. Ms. Carnemark will join 11 other fellows in activities that will focus on strategic thinking and problem solving, leadership self-assessment, application of leadership skills, and interaction with current leaders in the legal community.
Callie Carnemark is an Associate in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation practice group. She focuses her practice on real estate and business litigation as well as the firm’s appellate practice. For more information on the Leadership Academy, visit www.barmont.org. For more information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s litigation practice, click here or contact Callie at 301-762-5212.
- Posted September 26, 2016 at 7:05 PM
- Categories Eminent Domain and Condemnation, Litigation, Press, MM&C Happenings, Featured Events
Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce that Eminent Domain Attorney, Joseph P. Suntum, will speak at the 13th Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference in The Hague, Netherlands this October. Mr. Suntum is the Maryland representative of Owners’ Counsel of America, a national association of eminent domain lawyers dedicated to representing property owners in condemnation, inverse condemnation and property rights matters.
Suntum will participate on a panel tasked with exploring the relations and dynamics between private property rights, equality and freedom. At the center of the discussion is the question of whether the protection of private property rights becomes a barrier for equality and freedom or whether property rights encourages economic, political and social stability and promotes liberty.
“The ability to own property and have your ownership legally protected has proven to be a powerful foundation of a robust economic system. Legally protected private property ownership has been argued to be ‘the guardian of every other right,’ and the basis of a free society,” said Suntum. “But private property rights alone do not insure equality or freedom. Rather, the dynamic relationship between private property ownership, equality and freedom dictates the nature of society and the individual’s place in it.”
Established by the William & Mary Law School Property Rights Project, the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference promotes collaboration between legal scholars and the practicing bar through the annual conference and conference journal. The 2016 Conference is presented in collaboration with the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University and will take place at the Peace Palace in The Hague. Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, President of the Institute of Liberty and Democracy (ILD), will be honored at the Conference with the 2016 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize for his work advocating for legal and property rights reforms in developing nations around the world.
Read the full press release from The Owners' Counsel of America by clicking here. You may also view the 13th Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference Program by clicking the download attachment link below.
Joe Suntum is a Principal at Miller, Miller & Canby, focusing his practice in eminent domain and condemnation law. 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.
Miller, Miller & Canby welcomes Anne-Marie “Callie” Carnemark as an associate in the Litigation Practice Group. Ms. Carnemark will focus on real estate and business litigation as well as the firm’s appellate practice.
Prior to joining Miller, Miller & Canby, Ms. Carnemark served as a law clerk to the Honorable Terrence J. McGann of the Montgomery County Circuit Court. She also served as a legal intern for the First Shift Justice Project, an organization that protects the employment rights of low-income mothers.
Ms. Carnemark received her Juris Doctor degree from the College of William & Mary Law School. While pursuing her law degree, she served as President of the Women’s Law Society and was also active on the National Trial Team, which inspired her to become a litigator. She also worked as a legal intern and summer associate for several firms.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Newcomb College of Tulane University. A member of the “Katrina class” — referring to the students forced to evacuate and take time off in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane — Ms. Carnemark volunteered for a number of organizations during the rebuilding process.
A native of Montgomery County, MD, Ms. Carnemark is a member of the Montgomery County Inns of Court, the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association. She has been accepted to the Montgomery County Bar Association Leadership Development Academy for the class of 2017.
We are pleased to welcome Callie to our team. Please click the download button below to read the formal press release of Callie joining the firm. To find out how her expertise may be of benefit to you, contact Callie Carnemark.
- Posted September 9, 2016 at 4:26 PM
- Categories Eminent Domain and Condemnation, Litigation, Real Estate, Press, Business & Tax, Maryland Property Tax News
The 46th Annual Wichita Program Appraisal for Ad Valorem Taxation of Communications, Energy and Transportation Properties was held on July 24-28, 2016 at Wichita State University. MM&C litigation attorneys, James (“Jim”) Thompson and Michael Campbell, represented Charles County, and David Lyon represented the State Department of Assessments and Taxation against the taxpayer’s efforts to obtain a dramatic reduction in the value of an electric generating plant in Charles County. After a lengthy trial, they were successful in the reported case of GenOn Mid-Atlantic, LLC v. State Dept. of Assessments and Taxation, 2015 WL 9875283 (Md. Tax 2015). This case was selected as one of the top ten significant ad valorem cases in 2015-2016 because of the complexity of the issues and the large dollar amount involved. The case involved personal property assessments on property owned by a non-regulated coal plant in excess of One Billion Dollars. Witnesses for the taxpayer stated that the fair market value of the plant would have been severely reduced by a number of factors, among them the contention that coal plants were becoming obsolete as new environmental regulations added increased costs to their operation and the availability of cheap natural gas made them non-competitive. The Tax Court considered those issues, but also evaluated the long-term economics of the plant and ruled that the “highest and best use” of the property was a continuation of the existing plant, and there was nothing obsolete about the coal technology as of the valuation dates in 2009-2010. The Court affirmed the assessments.
Miller, Miller & Canby has been handling tax assessment appeals for owners of various types of properties in Maryland for more than 30 years, and occasionally represents governmental entities trying to protect their tax base. In 2014, MM&C’s attorneys obtained millions of dollars in property assessment reductions for its 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. Jim Thompson and Michael Campbell have headed up the firm’s ad valorem tax assessment practice for years.
Also, Jim Thompson and Joe Suntum have an extensive practice in eminent domain and real estate valuation litigation. Currently, Joe is the Maryland 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. With their breadth of legal experience, proven results and mature judgment, they have been extremely successful.
Please feel free to contact Mr. Thompson, Mr. Campbell or Mr. Suntum, at (301) 762-5212 for any property value litigation issues. For more information about the firm’s litigation practice and representative cases, click here.