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Questions Answered by Joseph D. Allen
1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury, Environmental, Internet Law and Mergers & Acquisitions for Maryland on
Q: I have been traumatized due to a situation where my spouse and I hippa rights have been violated by the news station .

We have a big lawsuit that needs to be resolved sooner than later I have contacted a lawyer but she is way to expensive. She said I have a very big lawsuit and definitely been traumatized . this is something that will follow our life living here in our town. We only want justice and to live without... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Oct 18, 2019

There is no private cause of action for a HIPAA violation- in other words, an individual may not sue for damages based solely on such a violation. However, the Maryland Confidentiality of Medical Records Act does allow a person to sue for recovery of actual damages. It is possible that the same... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Hello! landlord/tenant issue how do I get back possession of my house. quickest possible way?

house does not have Use & Occ permit but has city certified rental license. Final Plumbing/HVAC, Final Electrical, Lead Inspected. Tenant I yr lease expires end of month. paid 7 months. in default 5 months. Tenants went to court and got FTPR dismissed bcoz of U & O. I gave them30 day notice to... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Oct 18, 2019

In a tenant holding over action (as opposed to FTPR), there is no requirement that the landlord be in compliance with all local licensing ordinances. There is Maryland case law that the lack of a rental license in and of itself is not a justification for a court to award a refund of paid rent-... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Can I get out of paying?

My lease ended 8/31/19. My landlord sent me a list of damages that we owe for, the letter was stamped 10/15/19, we received it 10/16/19. MD law gives them “within 45 days”, was this within the time frame? They held my security deposit and sent bill for damages. Also, I believe they are supposed... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Oct 17, 2019

30 days have September... The statute doesn't say the list of damages has to be received within 45 days. If the landlord actually paid for repairs, they would reasonably need to list that (as opposed to an earlier higher estimate). But if the damages are estimates, the statute merely requires... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Can a landlord charge repair deductibles for items such as AC repair due to normal wear and tear?

We are being told that using the AC means we are responsible for normal wear and tear on an aging unit.

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Oct 17, 2019

Merely using the AC is clearly not outside of ordinary and intended use, and therefore the landlord is on the hook for ordinary wear and tear. Sometimes the tenant is required in the lease to change the filters, and failing to do that could create some responsibility on the tenant.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Maryland on
Q: Can an employer legally assign non-exempt duties to an exempt supervisor to avoid paying a non-exempt employee overtime?

I'm a supervisor in Maryland, and already overwhelmed with 60-80 hours of work/wk. Can my employer keep loading on responsibilities without any limits? And if I say that's not my job or I'm already overwhelmed with work, they can terminate me? Basically, I worked my way up and proved to be... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Oct 17, 2019

There are limits to how much an employer can get away with. One question is if the employee is appropriately classified as exempt, given their overall duties and responsibilities. Another is if the employee is actually performing two separate jobs (one exempt, and the other non-exempt), and... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Is it legal for five members of a nine member Board to meet (or email) to plan & agree on action at the next Board meet.

Is it legal for the Five to do this without including the community (aka public) and the remaining four Board members (who happen to be the officers of the Board)

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Sep 17, 2019

The answer will depend on what kind of board is in question- government or private company/non-profit. And then if it is governmental, it will depend on the laws governing that particular board- in addition to the Maryland Open Meetings Act. If private, it will depend on the bylaws or other... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for Maryland on
Q: contractor ripped me off because i wouldnt help him get his drugs

i did side work for a contractor and he refuses to pay me because we got into a argument on the last day finishing up the job because he brought a drug dealer to the job and he asked me to go outside and flag him down and i refused and he acted like a child because someone actually told him no. he... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Sep 16, 2019

From the facts given, it does not appear that the contractor has a legitimate reason why they have not paid you for the work (and possibly overtime) that they owe you. You should discuss with an employment/labor attorney who offers free initial consultations. These kinds of cases are sometimes... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: I was told that I had to have surgery in order to be represented in a suit against the apartments where I reside

I was told that I had to have surgery in order to be represented in a suit against the apartment where I reside the ceiling fell in on me and I have be having back leg and elbow issues they also made me move my apartment on my own to a new unit I need representation because I hw e kids I have to... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Sep 9, 2019

Medical expenses are a major component of this type of claim, but having surgery is not necessarily required. Lost income and other expenses are also relevant to damages. You should discuss with an attorney.

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: I need advice on what I should do when I believe I was illegally evicted?
Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Sep 5, 2019

You'd want to discuss all the facts and circumstances with an attorney who practices in the landlord/tenant area.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Maryland on
Q: Does your company have to pay out accrued vac time if the maturity date in with in the last 2 weeks of your empowerment?

The company has a policy that they will pay out any unused accrued time if you give the proper notice. If u give 2 weeks and the anniversary date to release the time is in that window, is the company required to pay you out that time u have been accruing since last year even though these are the... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Aug 28, 2019

It depends on exactly how the policy is worded. Or if it is silent about this situation, it becomes a matter of interpretation. You can either inquire with them (assuming you've already given notice, of course)- or wait and see what happens. If they deny it, then depending on how much you are... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Civil Litigation for Maryland on
Q: How do I protect myself from being sued by company staff for recording scheduled meeting without permission? my rights?

I was not aware you could not record for meetings so you can capture meeting notes. not a fast note taker and it was illegal. I was fired for doing it.

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Aug 16, 2019

Unless the staff has some cognizable injury from the recording (like by publishing scandalous parts online), it is not likely that you will be sued. But if you get a demand from an attorney, you should hire one yourself.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Is there a life expectancy of carpet in Maryland that a landlord can no longer charge for excessive damage?

Tenants lived in a single family rental home for six years. Carpet was newly installed just prior to their move-in; addendum to lease noted that shoes not be worn on carpets. On move out, the carpet was filthy (beyond normal wear and tear) and had unremovable sticky substances (gum, candy from... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Aug 13, 2019

It could be argued that a carpet would have had to be replaced after 6 years of normal wear and tear due to its intended use. While the "no-shoes" addendum is creative, it may not be the thing to hang a hat on in court. Attempt to come to an agreement with the ex-tenant- preferably in writing.

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts and Consumer Law for Maryland on
Q: A drum company has my drums and will not give them back. They will not answer my calls or emails. What can I do?

They say I owe them money but will not answer my emails for months. They are in another state entirely and all I want are my drums back. They actually owe me money for services not rendered but are saying I owe them for storage fees which were never discussed until I wanted to pull the plug on... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Aug 6, 2019

Your rights will be defined by what your agreement with the drum company was- plus equitable principles to fill in the gaps. You can hire an attorney to demand the return of the drums and/or work out a deal with the company- or you might be able to sue them.

1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury for Maryland on
Q: someone at my old job put bleach on my ice and I drank it. they a week later they fired me what can I do?
Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Jul 24, 2019

Civil (and criminal) liability for the poisoner themselves seems pretty straightforward (if it is provable with evidence). The employer's responsibility for the bleach incident is less clear. As for the termination itself, there are not enough facts to analyze. And it seems likely there are many... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Maryland on
Q: I am an hourly employee, but regularly contacted outside of working hours regarding work matters. Is this legal?

My direct supervisor does not prohibit me from clocking in when working outside usual hours, but this is not always practical since I receive texts/phone calls unexpectedly and at all hours. This is not specifically an expectation of my job, but it is implied that my employer desires me to be... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Jul 24, 2019

There are two considerations here. The first is that if you are an hourly employee, you should be paid for all time and overtime you are "suffered" to work by the employer. Overtime might also apply if you are salaried/non-exempt. The second is how much it is worth to you to get paid the extra... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Does 3-101 require a Memorandum of option if the tenant has only occupied the property for 5 years?

3-101 (c) seems to suggest that an exception to the requirement is made to tenants with leases shorter than a 7-year period and the renewals are shorter than a 7-year period.

3-101(f) 2 seems to suggest that if 3-101 (c) is sound, then the Memorandum of Option isn't required. Am I reading... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Jul 24, 2019

It's not clear from the question what the issue is. R.P. 301 simply mandates that deeds to real property and leases over 7 years have to be executed and recorded in order to be effective. 301(f) extends that requirement to executing and recording options to buy, and gives the alternative means of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: I live in San Diego, CA and am the trustee of a trust that owns a house in MD. Can I file an unlawful detainer online.

The "tenants" are my siblings who have broken the terms of living in the property as laid out in the trust. I have sent them a sixty day notice to quit. One of the people living in the home signed for it. I want them out so that I can sell the house in accordance with the terms of the trust... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Jul 24, 2019

Not directly, though there are online (non-lawyer) services that claim to be able to handle evictions. Given the complications in the trust/wrongful detainer matter, that might not be wise (particularly if the eviction might be challenged by the residents). You might also want to get an opinion... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Can you clarify this eviction?

I was given a 30 day notice from my landlord ( private owner) on June 5th to pay by July 5th. The landlord was paid all but $400.00 of the balance, but he sent me a letter stating he doesn't want the balance and it's June 24th. He wants us to pay the $400.00 balance and move out by July 24th, when... Read more »

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Jun 25, 2019

Not clear if the landlord is giving 30 day notice of terminating your (perhaps month-to-month) lease, or attempting to evict you while you have a longer valid lease. If you hold over (stay in) the premises beyond proper termination, the landlord could file a wrongful detainer. Or, if they're... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: I am landlord in maryland. could I evict the tenants and their furnitures if they don't move out at termination date?

the new tenant will move in next day

Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on Jun 6, 2019

"Self-help" evictions are frowned upon in Maryland, and risky for landlords. You do not say whether you have a reasonable belief that the tenants will not move out at termination, but if you do have good reasons to think that (such as because the tenants said as much), you might be able to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Libel & Slander for Maryland on
Q: What does a business have to prove for a defamation case in an online review?
Joseph D. Allen
Joseph D. Allen answered on May 21, 2019

This is the general rule:

Four elements must be present for a plaintiff to establish a prima facie case of

defamation, including that: “(1) . . . the defendant made a defamatory statement to a third

person, (2) . . . the statement was false, (3) . . . the defendant was...
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