Workers’ Compensation & Employers’ Liability Article Archives

Decision in Simms Calls Virginia “Horseplay Doctrine” Into Question

September, 2009 | By Kathryn Lea Harman

On July 28, 2009, the Virginia office of Semmes won an appellate decision in Simms v. Ruby Tuesday, Inc., that could spell the end of the “horseplay doctrine” in Virginia Workers’ Compensation cases. Prior to Simms, the question in claims brought by employees injured by other employees was whether the injured employee was a participant in or an innocent victim of horseplay. A claimant able to prove that he was not a participant thereby established that his injury “arose out of” his employment, and that he was entitled to compensation.

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Medical Fee Guide Revised

October, 2006

One of the most effective methods in Maryland for controlling workers’ compensation costs is use of the Medical Fee Guide to limit payments for non-hospital medical treatment. The Maryland Workers’ Compensation has worked to find the proper balance between providing injured workers with quality medical care, controlling medical costs for employers and insurers, and providing medical care practitioners with a reasonable financial incentive in order to insure their participation in the system.

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Changes at the Maryland Commission

September, 2006

In October, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. named R. Karl Aumann to serve as Chairman of the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. Chairman Aumann had originally been appointed to the Commission in August of 2005 and, prior to coming to the Commission, had served as Maryland’s Secretary of State.

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“Accidental Injury” After Harris

August, 2006

The decision of the Maryland Court of Appeals in Harris v. Board of Education, issued by the Court on June 6, 2003, expanded the definition of “accidental injury” under Maryland law and eliminated the requirement that the injury must result from some “unusual activity” in order to be compensable. Almost three years later, the Maryland workers’ compensation community is still sorting out exactly what is covered, and what is not, after Harris. Attempts to have the Maryland Legislature amend the statute to redefine “accidental injury” after the Harris case have, to date, not been successful.

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Supreme Court Continues To Level The Playing Field Under The ADA

August, 2002

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) is a murky law on its face. Semmes, Bowen & Semmes, therefore, continues to consistently advise its clients that “caution” and “good faith” are the watchwords when dealing with applicants or employees who suffer from disabilities.

In the past few years, the Supreme Court has issued a flurry of opinions under the ADA. When viewed in light of especially its two favorable 1999 opinions, what is clear is that the Court has done much to equal the playing field for employers under the ADA.

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Fourth Circuit Rejects Board Back Pay Award In Salting Case

July, 2002

At long last, a rational voice has spoken in a “salt” case. On March 29, 2002, the Fourth Circuit refused to enforce the back pay portion of a National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) decision ordering an electrical contractor to pay a “salt” from the time he applied for job and was rejected to the date several years later when the contractor, in compliance with a Board order, finally offered him employment.

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The Statutory Foundation of Privacy In The Electronic Workplace

June, 2002

(Labor & Employment Newsletter – 2002) An employee who perceives that his employer has intruded upon his reasonable expectation of privacy may sue under the common law claims of “Invasion of Privacy”/”False Light,” or “Intrusion Upon Seclusion.” View Article The above publication is saved in PDF format. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader…

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New Sexual Orientation Law Protects More Than Just The Bisexual And Heterosexual Population

May, 2002

Under Maryland’s “new” sexual orientation legislation, codified at Md. Code 1957, Art. 49B, employers may not, in making employment decisions, discriminate on the basis of their applicants’ or employees’ sexual orientation. The legislation broadens Maryland’s civil rights law banning discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, color, national origin, marital status, and disability to include a ban on discrimination also on the basis of sexual orientation.

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A Tax Break for the Hereafter

May, 2013

Benjamin Franklin’s observation that nothing is certain but death and taxes is a little less true in Maryland, where the estate tax itself is virtually dead. Under a measure passed in this year’s legislative session, Marylanders will be able to leave behind more than $5 million in assets with no tax liability. This is good news for the rich and middle class alike.

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Probate in Equity Courts

January, 2012 | By Carl E. Eastwick

These days, a revocable inter vivos trust serves as the principal testimony instrument of many estate plans. The settlor of a trust of this sort retains nearly total control of the trust assets by retaining the unfettered power to amend the trust, and by implication also to revoke it. It matters not whether the trustee is the settlor or a third party. Thus, the beneficiaries of the trust possess but a tenuous contingent interest in the trust assets.

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Planning for the Family Vacation Home

January, 2007

One of the most difficult assets to plan for is the family vacation home. For many families, the vacation home is an important center of annual family activity, with multiple generations of family becoming emotionally invested in the property. If the property is located in a desirable area, it’s value can often grow larger than any other single family asset. Once the eldest generation passes away, however, conflicting desires over what to do with that valuable asset may cause family unity to fray.

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Selecting Trustees and Executors

April, 2006

In the course of our estate planning work with clients, we will ask who the client wishes to designate as trustee of any trusts we are creating, and as executor (or “personal representative”) of his or her estate. These are the people (or entities) who will take legal title to, and control the property of the trust or estate until it is distributed. They are in a fiduciary capacity, which means that they can be held personally liable if they negligently or intentionally misuse the property entrusted to them.

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