Please take time over this Memorial Day weekend to remember and honor those who have lost their lives serving in the United States military. The nation’s tradition of recognizing fallen soldiers on the last Monday of May dates back to the Civil War. For many, the holiday also marks an unofficial “start” to summer each year, as families take time together to enjoy the outdoors and share stories about loved ones who served.   

We would also like to address a few recent questions we have received regarding laws for consumers in Maryland:

1.     Negligence liability for minors: In Maryland, minors are subject to liability for their tortious acts. In cases of personal negligence, minors have a duty to act as a reasonable person of their same age, intelligence, and experience would act to prevent harm.

2.    Insurance premiums and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claims: Auto insurers in Maryland are prohibited from increasing insurance premiums after an insured driver files a PIP claim or receives a PIP payment.

3.     Insurance company access to red light camera footage: Red light camera violations in Maryland are not reflected on driving records and are not disclosed to insurance companies. Companies do not have access to footage of red light camera violations, nor can they use such violations as a basis for raising a customer’s insurance premiums.  

Additionally, please be aware of recent lawsuits related to two medical devices:

1.     Forty lawsuits have been filed against Allergen, Inc. for a Lap-Band device alleged to have caused significant injuries after the devices eroded in the victims’ stomachs. The Lap-Bands are designed as long-term devices for weight loss.

2.    Pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi is currently the subject of cancer lawsuits related to antacid Zantac. The drug is commonly used to treat ulcers and acid reflux. In 2020, the company issued a voluntary recall of the product due to the presence of carcinogens.

Angelos Legal Group wishes you a safe, healthy Memorial Day and start to the summer season.  If you have any legal issues you wish to discuss, please call me. 

-John C.M.

This week we honor a great American, Martin Luther King, Jr. May his voice always rise above our petty differences and make our country stronger each and every day.

As the new president prepares to take his oath on Wednesday, I reflect back on the oath I took over thirty years ago as a new attorney in the state of Maryland:

“I do solemnly swear that I will at all times demean myself fairly and honorably as an attorney and practitioner at law; that I will bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland, and support the laws and Constitution thereof, and that I will bear true allegiance to the United States, and that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution, laws and government thereof as the supreme law of the land; any law, or ordinance of this state or any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

We look forward to continuing to serve you and your families in the future.

John C.M.

Dear Clients & Friends,

What happens when a natural disaster strikes, and you cannot get an insurance company to pay out your claim? When you are pursuing an insurance claim, always be the first to gather the evidence – visit the scene, take many pictures, and read through your own insurance policy. Insurance companies will only pay if the covered claims are sufficiently documented. Here are some easy things that you can do to make sure that you are paid:

  • Locate copies of your insurance policies
  • Contact your insurance company immediately and start the process to file a claim
  • Take videos and pictures of the damage, make sure to make the scene appear most favorable to ensuring coverage for you
  • Save copies of any receipts, checks, estimates, and invoices of all pre- and post-disaster damage
  • Save copies of any expenses, purchases, rentals, and leases for all pre- and post-disaster
  • Mitigate any damages through temporary repairs after documenting the damage
  • Allow an insurance adjuster to visit the property and conduct their own inspection
  • Obtain the latest appraisal of all premises, equipment, and business/personal property
  • Prepare a map of the premises, include the location of personal property, equipment, and machinery
  • Obtain a licensed contractor’s estimate for damage and a timeline for the repairs
  • Retain an engineer to diagnose any structural damage to the property
  • Notate any conversations with insurance representatives, adjusters, and experts
  • Timely submit a “proof of loss” under the policy

For a homeowner’s insurance claim, know your policy terms, including the deductibles. Know whether your deductibles cover actual cash values or replacement costs. Also, know whether your deductible is to be applied before making a claim or after. If the deductible comes off first, it may eliminate your claim depending on the amount.

If you have any questions or want me to review your insurance policy with you, please give me a call or send me an email. Be well. John CM

Dear Clients & Friends,

Due to a Freedom of Information subpoena, federal officials have released reports of 13 deaths within four years that cited the involvement of high caffeine products. Without knowing the specifics, the suspects could most likely be 5-Hour Energy Shots (owned by Manoj Bhargava), Rockstar Energy, Monster Energy, Red Bull, Full-Throttle (owned by Coca-Cola), and Amp (owned by Pepsi).

This high-caffeine industry is worth $8.9 billion that has resulted in over 12,000 emergency room visits linked to their consumption. These products are not for children. Talk to the young people in your life and keep them away from excessive caffeine. For adults, if you must indulge, remember to consume low doses.

Be well. John CM

Dear Clients & Friends,

Maryland’s highest court ruled that pit bulls are a deadly weapon and an owner is strictly liable for any damages that are a result of the dog. Before this ruling, if you were negligent and your dog got away and attacked someone, you were most likely protected by your homeowner’s insurance, but not anymore. Pit bull (and mixed pit bull breeds) dog owners and landlords with pit bull owning tenants are now individually liable for damages. Why would they make this ruling? Is the insurance industry tired of paying out to dog owners? For now, I do not have the answers, but it is the new law.

If you are a pit bull owner or landlord with pit bull owning tenants, call me. I have some advice for you. 

Be well. John CM

Dear Clients & Friends,

Whether you are a staff pharmacist, an independent contract, or the director for a non-profit, an employment agreement has become a standard business requirement. The purpose of an employment agreement is to protect the employer’s clientele while still allow you to earn an income and retain your own individual rights.

Employment agreements are often one-sided (against the employee) and may contain provisions that are legally unenforceable. There may be certain limitations in a non-compete agreement that are illegal, but you consent to them unknowingly.

When you speak with me, I will explain the law and provide negotiating options based on your needs. Do not limit yourself or your future choices, understand the law and your legal rights, and negotiate fair terms with your employer. Throughout my career, I have written many of these contracts for several employers, so I am able to give you feedback from both sides of the table. Call me to discuss.

Be well. John CM

Dear Clients & Friends,

I have received several phone calls asking what happens if you are the at-fault driver to a serious accident or if someone gets hurt while at your home for a party. How do you protect yourself? A personal liability policy (umbrella policy) is designed to protect YOU and your assets from an unforeseen event.

Consider if someone slips on ice on your driveway or accidentally gets run over when you are backing out of the garage. If you have $1 million limits on both your home and auto policies, but the victim wins a $10 million judgment, you can face severe financial ruin unless you have an umbrella policy.

An umbrella policy will provide you a defense against lawsuits seeking the maximum amount of damages against you. Call me if you want to know what umbrella policy I carry and the cost of it.

Be well. John CM