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The Sale of a Structured Settlement in Maryland

One of the more complex areas of personal injury law involves structured settlements. Structured settlements are a negotiated agreement, in which a person agrees to resolve a personal injury claim in the form of periodic payments, rather than a lump sum. One of the most critical aspects of the sale of a structured settlement in Maryland is an Independent Professional Advisor (IPA).

Why Is an IPA Required for the Sale of a Structured Settlement in Maryland?

Since structured settlements can be very complex, the state of Maryland wants to protect the annuitant and make sure that they are receiving fair market value from the buyer. The Statealso wants to ensure that the transaction is in the best interest of both the selling party and the associated dependents. One of the ways that Maryland seeks to protect these parties during the sale of a structured settlement is by receiving independent professional advice from an IPA.

An IPA is a third party with no personal interest in the matter. The IPA is able to give an honest appraisal of the situation. The decision to sell structured settlement payment rights is a serious one, and you should never make it without proper consideration.

Who Can Act as an IPA?

In Maryland, attorneys, accountants and financial planners can all provide advice on the sale of a structured settlement. Because structured settlements are such complex legal matters, it’s recommended that you work with an experienced lawyer like Mobley and Brown, LLP. The IPA process is not merely a checkbox that we will mark off for you. Instead, we make sure that you thoroughly understand the pros and cons.

What Types of Things Will Be Discussed Before Your Sale of a Structured Settlement in Maryland?

An IPA is there to advocate on your behalf and make sure that you are not getting the bad end of the deal. Is the total after the discount that you will be getting better than the amount that you would be getting through a hardship exchange through an insurance carrier’s program? What things could selling the lump sum payment at a discount affect? We are experienced in handling cases that involve the sale of a structured settlement in Maryland, and we will fight for your best interests.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with a Structured Settlement in Maryland

Whether you have been involved in a structured settlement in Maryland or you need help considering what the best path forward for you is, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Understanding Bench Warrants in Maryland

In the state of Maryland, both warrants and bench warrants are used by judges and the court. However, there are a broad range of warrants and bench warrants in Maryland that could have serious consequences if you are named in one. You should never ignore a warrant, as it will not disappear on its own! Here’s what every citizen should know about bench warrants in Maryland.

What Are Bench Warrants?

While often confused with arrest warrants, bench warrants are significantly different. Bench warrants can be issued by a judge after you failed to appear in court when requested to do so. When you do not show up at a court date when you were served notice that you were supposed to appear, the state’s attorney can request a bench warrant.

It’s important to note that a bench warrant is not automatic. One example of this can occur if you have a speeding ticket and request a trial with the state instead of paying the ticket. If you fail to appear at the hearing you requested, the court will not bother issuing a bench warrant. Instead, you will have a failure to appear and simply need to work things out with your attorney, the MVA and the court. However, if you have a more serious charge, like a possession charge or drug-related charge, a bench warrant will probably be issued if you do not show up to court.

Do Bench Warrants in Maryland Mean You Will Go to Jail?

Not necessarily. Particularly if you are working with an attorney or hire an attorney, you might not see any jail time despite your failure to appear. When you find out that you have been the subject of bench warrants in Maryland, you should contact an attorney before turning yourself in. If you choose to turn yourself in without the help of an attorney and the commissioner that meets with you deems you a flight risk, you could be put in jail if you cannot post bond.

The most important way to avoid bench warrants in Maryland is simply by appearing in court on time when you are supposed to. If you have a more serious charge and you fail to appear, you can count on a bench warrant being issued and facing the consequences.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Bench Warrants in Maryland

Whether you have been the subject of bench warrants in Maryland or you need help before turning yourself, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

3 Myths About Non-Compete Clauses

While non-compete clauses are very common in Maryland, there are many myths about them that detract from employees understanding if the agreement they are signing is enforceable and businesses creating legally valid clauses. It is critical that every employer understands exactly what activities they can restrict and how to best use non-compete clauses to protect their business.

3 Common Myths About Non-Compete Clauses

  1. They Are Unenforceable in Maryland: Because Maryland has strict rules that can determine whether or not non-compete clauses are valid, some businesses assume that virtually all clauses are unenforceable. In reality, that isn’t the case. Noncompete agreements are completely enforceable. Maryland has four requirements to make an agreement enforceable. The clause must have adequate consideration to support the contract, be ancillary to an employment contract, be limited in duration and geographic scope, and it must not be against public policy or causing undue harm. Maryland allows portions of noncompete clauses to be enforced even if part is voidable, and the court will simply remove the unenforceable portion and enforce the rest.
  2. Employers Should Use Broad Noncompete Clauses Just in Case: Some businesses interpret Maryland’s rule about striking the unenforceable portion and enforcing the rest to mean that they should try to make the broadest clause possible just in case. However, this can backfire in court. Any clause that restricts an employee from being employed by a competitor in any role imaginable will not hold up, even if it does not protect your business interests. Work with an experienced attorney like Mobley and Brown, LLP to create clauses that are well-designed and enforceable.
  3. Once Non-Compete Clauses Are Violated, There Is Little Recourse: This myth stops many companies from getting the restitution that they are entitled to. If a former employee breaks the clause and it was valid, you can pursue preliminary and permanent injunctions, damages and liquid damages. Mobley & Brown, LLP can evaluate your case and determine the best path forward. If your trade secrets are divulged or an employee knowingly violates the contract they signed, you deserve help.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Arbitration Clauses

If you are part of an arbitration agreement and unsure it if is valid or you need help and you are unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

How Do Arbitration Clauses Work in Maryland?

Arbitration clauses are a common element in many contracts and terms and conditions agreements throughout the country, and Maryland is no different. Arbitration agreements allow employers and businesses to protect themselves by lowering the potential financial burden if a contract or dispute goes to court. Alternative dispute resolution can be a great thing, but it is not appropriate for every situation. How do arbitration clauses work in Maryland?

What Makes Arbitration Clauses Enforceable?

An arbitration agreement can exist between two or more parties to resolve things with an arbitrator instead of taking things to court. However, every arbitration agreement is not necessarily legally valid if it is presented to the court. Maryland has a special law, the Maryland Uniform Arbitration Act (MUAA), that dictates how arbitration clauses can be used in the state. A written clause cannot be revoked unless it is invalid or unenforceable.

An arbitration clause in a contract might be invalid, as some businesses do not consult with an experienced business attorney like Mobley and Brown, LLP before creating one. Some of the grounds that a clause can be challenged on include:

  • Waiver: If one party acted in a manner that indicated without a doubt that they were not actually interested in seeking arbitration for legal claims, it would act as a waiver. This could occur if a party immediately filed suit instead of starting the arbitration process.
  • Fraud: If a party misrepresented or omitted a material fact in order to convince the other parties to sign the arbitration clause, that would count as fraud.
  • Duress: If a party was coerced or threatened to sign the contract against their best interest, it could be argued that they signed the arbitration clauses under duress.
  • Unconscionability: Finally, if one party did not have a significant amount or an equal amount of bargaining power when entering the contract, it could be argued in court.

If arbitration clauses themselves are signed on contracts that are invalid, that also automatically invalidates the arbitration section. Remember that every arbitration clause is not applicable to every situation, so there might be disagreement over whether or not a particular clause requires arbitration. Your business attorney at Mobley & Brown, LLP is here to help.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Arbitration Clauses

If you are part of an arbitration agreement and unsure it if is valid or you need help and you are unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Do Young Families Need Estate Planning?

Young adults and families are excited about all that the future contains. While that’s a wonderful thing that nothing should take away from, it can sometimes mean that they put off important planning steps that can protect their family in the event that an accident happens. Young families need estate planning just as much as more established ones.

Estate Planning Is About More Than You Realize

Some young families assume that estate planning only matters for families and individuals that have a significant number of assets. In reality, estate planning is about far more than just what will happen to your assets if you are no longer able to manage them. In the estate planning process, you will name someone to administer the estate, name a guardian for any minor children, provide instructions on how to distribute your assets and more. Young families need estate planning.

What Should You Consider When Planning Your Estate as a Young Family?

Working with an experienced attorney at Mobley & Brown, LLP, can ensure that you carefully consider the answers to the questions that will guide your estate planning. Some of the questions you should think about include:

  1. Who will take care of your children in the event that you, the other parent or your spouse will be unable to care for them after you are gone? Do they have stable relationships and finances? How close do they live? Will they be able to provide your children with the life that you want them to have?
  2. Do you have life insurance policies or other policies that can offer your family additional security? How can they access them?
  3. Do you have a trust set up? How will you make sure there is minimal confusion about your wishes when you are no longer here to clarify them?
  4. Who will manage the distribution of your assets? Do you have someone who is able to follow your wishes without conflict or issue? An attorney can also be named as the executor of your will.
  5. Who will make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you are injured and unable to do so? Should the same person be responsible for both of them? We are always here to help young families who need estate planning.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help for Young Families Who Need Estate Planning

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

 

What Happens if Your Car Insurance Claim Is Denied After a Car Accident?

If you’ve suffered in the aftermath of a car accident due to injuries and damage that occurred during and as a result of it, do you think you deserve restitution? The answer is yes, but unfortunately many insurance companies can complicate the restitution that you deserve. Car insurance companies are more interested in maximizing profits than helping loyal customers in the aftermath of a car accident. What are your options if your claim is denied?

Why Can an Insurance Company Deny a Benefit After a Car Accident in Maryland?

There are many different reasons why an insurance company might deny a claim. Depending on the timing of the accident, they might attempt to argue that you lacked coverage when the accident occurred or that you were not covered for what you were doing when driving (like driving for a delivery service). Some companies will say that you did not have sufficient coverage, and others will deny based on the value of your car accident claims.

It’s important to know that many companies do not expect drivers to push back against their claims. A skilled personal injury lawyer can examine your policy documents and details to see whether or not your insurer is misleading you. If your insurance company is lowballing you or is trying to take advantage of you, a skilled personal injury lawyer can fight back on your behalf. We will maximize your payout after your car accident and work tirelessly to help you recover.

What Should You Do if Your Car Accident Claim Was Denied?

Even if the insurance company is claiming that you were to blame or casting doubt on your claim, you should contact an experienced lawyer like Mobley and Brown, LLP. We can review all evidence, speak with witnesses and comb through the accident reports to show the truth of what happened during your car accident. In some cases, it might be appropriate to file suit against the insurance company denying your claim. We can help work through your options and equip you with the knowledge you need to move forward.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP After Your Car Accident

If you were denied your car accident claim by your auto insurance company, you need help and you are unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

5 Mistakes Officers Make During DWI Arrests

Every year, many Maryland residents are arrested on DWI charges despite errors made by officers during the arrest. The police will not tell you if they make a mistake, which means that many of those residents never end up learning that the circumstances or procedures related to their arrest were not legal. What are some of the common mistakes that officers make during DWI arrests?

5 Common Mistakes Police Officers Make During DWI Arrests

  1. Lack of Probable Cause: This is one of the leading mistakes made during arrests, and it is also common during DWI arrests. For example, if you were simply walking home at night, that should not be cause for suspicion. Every arrest requires probable cause that can then lead to questioning and the search of your person. Without probable cause, the arrest could be illegal.
  2. Misconduct During the Arrest: Unfortunately, some police officers can be overly physical or aggressive during an arrest. The same can occur during DWI arrests. If you are resisting arrest, officers can use a certain amount of force to subdue you. However, if you are cooperating, there are limits as to how they can handle the arrest. Verbal misconduct is also not permissible. Police officers must conduct themselves professionally, and violations of that during DWI arrests can strengthen your case.
  3. Miranda Rights: Did you know that you must be read your Miranda Rights before you are arrested? In some cases, officers forget to read the person being arrested their Miranda Rights or intentionally skip them.
  4. Faulty Tests: While this isn’t necessarily the fault of the police officer, faulty field sobriety tests during DWI arrests can lead to illegitimate results. All field sobriety tests must be administered in accordance with guidelines issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Breathalyzers are prone to both human and mechanical error. If there were problems with the tests used to determine whether or not to complete DWI arrests, the case could play out differently.
  5. Failure to Show: Even though this occurs after DWI arrests have already taken place, a failure to show at a court hearing or trial could lead to dismissal. If the officer that conducted your arrest fails to prepare for trial or show up in court, it could change the outcome of your case.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with DWI Arrests in Maryland

If you are searching for a criminal defense or disorderly conduct defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What Is Unconstitutional Search and Seizure in Maryland?

Every American is protected from unreasonable search and seizure thanks to the fourth amendment, which guarantees “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Unfortunately, unconstitutional search and seizure can still occur. Maryland law carefully defines what conditions must be met for the legal search of your person or property. Whenever these conditions have not been met by a police officer, the search and seizure may have been illegal. What is unconstitutional search and seizure in Maryland?

What Is Search and Seizure?

Searches and seizures can happen in different types of cases and in many different ways. Anything from looking at your cell phone to searching through your entire vehicle could be considered a search. Seizures could include taking property from your home or taking your DNA using a DNA warrant. Search and seizure can occur with or without a warrant, but warrantless searches and seizures do not often hold up in court.

Reasonable Search and Seizure

The specific protection we are afforded is protection against “unreasonable” search and seizure. If the search was reasonable, then the police could have the right to examine your vehicle, home or private property. In order for a search to be constitutional:

  • The police must have probable cause that there is evidence you committed a crime and a judge issued a search warrant
  • The circumstances justify the search without the need for a warrant

Probable cause is a key factor in whether or not the situation is deemed an unconstitutional search and seizure. Probable cause is whether or not there is a “fair” probability that evidence of a crime or prohibited materials could be found in a particular place.

Another critical factor is whether or not there is a legitimate expectation of privacy. If you leave something in plain sight where police are lawfully present, it could be searched or seized. The court will consider whether or not you expected a degree of privacy and whether or not your expectation was reasonable.

Do You Have a Case of Unconstitutional Search and Seizure?

If you are concerned that you were the victim of an unconstitutional search and seizure, you need legal representation. Mobley & Brown, LLP can meet with you to assess your case and determine whether or not you could have been a victim of unconstitutional actions.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Unconstitutional Search and Seizure Lawsuits in Maryland

If you are searching for a criminal defense or disorderly conduct defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Understanding Trade Secret Lawsuits in Maryland

As a business, you are always looking to protect your business now and in the future. One of the most complex parts of business law is trade secret law. Unlike copyrights or patents that have a wealth of legal mechanisms to protect them from someone stealing them, trade secrets rely on employees and team members keeping them secret. When it comes to trade secret lawsuits in Maryland, choosing the right attorney to prove your case is essential.

What Is a Trade Secret?

Trade secrets are one of the different types of intellectual property, or IP. Intellectual property is not something tangible, like a product you created, but instead something that your business has the right to possess despite intangibility. As a business, you can elect to copyright your process or technique, but that can mean taking the risk of your proprietary methods being exposed to your competitors and the world. The same thing happens when you get a patent.

As a result, many companies elect to rely on trade secrets. Trade secret lawsuits in Maryland can be filed when a trade secret was attempted to be kept secret with “reasonable effort” and has value. We can help you in determining if trade secret lawsuits in Maryland could be applicable to your situation.

What Are Some Examples of Trade Secrets?

To help give you a better idea of what things could be regulated by trade secret lawsuits in Maryland, here are some trade secret examples:

  • Secret Recipes: The ingredients, process, or mix of flavors that makes a food or drink product special
  • Formulas: Chemical formulas, like WD-40, might be protected by trade secrets instead of patents
  • Software: While plenty of different types of software give users access to the code, others, like the Google search algorithm, are kept under lock-and-key and considered trade secrets

Could You File Trade Secret Lawsuits in Maryland?

As the owner of a trade secret, you have the right to protect your secret if someone steals that confidential information. Depending on your situation, the judge can issue an order preventing them from further disclosing the secrets and force them to pay damages for any economic losses you experienced as a result.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Trade Secret Lawsuits in Maryland

If you are searching for a criminal defense or disorderly conduct defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Maryland Power of Attorney

When you complete your estate planning, you need to understand the rules governing the documents that you create. Maryland power of attorney guidelines cover how a power of attorney can be executed, who can create a power of attorney and more. What should you know about a Maryland power of attorney?

What Is Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney document grants another person the legal authority to act on your behalf. A power of attorney is essential if you are incapacitated and unable to make medical or financial decisions on your own behalf. A general power of attorney gives someone the power and authority to act on your behalf in personal or professional matters.  A limited power of attorney grants someone specific abilities, such as overseeing finances or sale of real estate.

Who Can Make a Power of Attorney Document?

In line with Maryland power of attorney rules, in order to create a power of attorney you must be:

  • 18 years or older
  • Intend to grant the power to the person designated in the document
  • Be mentally competent (able to understand the document, the powers you are granting and what impact that can have)

How Can a Power of Attorney Be Executed?

In order to execute a power of attorney based on Maryland power of attorney rules, the document must be:

  • In writing;
  • Signed by the person the document governs or another person in their presence and at their express direction;
  • Acknowledged by the person the document governs in the presence of a notary public and
  • Signed by at least two adult witnesses in front of each other and the person the document governs (one of which can be a notary public)

Some power of attorney documents can be used immediately, while others can be used only after a precipitating event. Working with a lawyer is essential to make sure that the document is precisely worded so there is not any doubt as to whether or not the power of attorney should go into effect. You can also specify a third party who can denote when the specified event has occurred. For example, if the power of attorney can be used if you are “sick or hurt,” a doctor, judge or specified third party can make that determination.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Assistance with a Maryland Power of Attorney

If you are searching for a criminal defense or disorderly conduct defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.