Monthly Archives: December 2010

The BILB On Avvo’s List of Top Legal Blogs

Since I started this blog in June of 2008 its readership and visibility has grown steadily. I think one reason for this is that I provide content that is topical, informative and entertaining in my core practice areas of car and truck accident injury cases, appeals, and medical malpractice.
Equally (or perhaps more) importantly, I have had the perseverance to provide regular updates for two and a half years. And that is starting to pay off.


Check me out at Number 103 on Avvo’s list of Top Legal Blogs. This listing is done by Alexa ranking. Alexa is a service that expresses an estimate of a web site’s popularity through a number. The lower the number, the more popular the site. For example, Google.com’s Alexa rank is 1. By way of comparison, the Baltimore Injury Lawyer Blog’s current Alexa rank (that has me at 103 on Avvo’s list) is 996,539.

I am amazed at how rapidly the blog has grown. For example, since the blog first appeared on Avvo’s Top Legal Blogs list, we have skyrocketed from Number 135 to 103. So as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep doing my best to provide top-quality content about injury litigation in the Baltimore area.

Next in my sights is the ABA Journal Blawg 100, which each year lists its top 100 legal blogs in 12 categories. Voting for this year goes to December 30. I’m not in the running this year, but you can start sending the editors nominations for the BIBL for next year!

The One Where I Am Awesome

I’m happy to announce that I have been named to the 2011 Maryland Super Lawyers Rising Stars list in two practice areas: Appellate and Personal Injury- General. Inclusion in the list is limited to less than 2.5% of the practicing attorneys in Maryland, and is determined by a fairly rigorous review process.

Most of our lawyers have been included on this list at various points since it began. So it is only natural that we have had discussions around the office about the value of this honor and what it means.
Ron Miller blogged about this last year, when all of Miller & Zois’ lawyers were named.

Does it mean the lawyers on the list are better than those who are not? No. Does it mean that if you are picking a lawyer to handle your case, you should always pick a lawyer from this list? No. There are a lot of different lawyers who excel at different kinds of cases. I personally know some outstanding lawyers who were not included. But are these kinds of lists and awards something that should be considered in picking a lawyer? Yes, along with many other factors, such as experience, trial experience and results, and substantive knowledge in particular practice areas.

At the end of the day, though, an honor like this is a good thing and I am happy to have received it. It is rewarding to have been found worthy by others in the legal community. Feel free to check it out below:

A Federal Judge I’d Like to Party With

If I only knew which one, since it’s a per curiam opinion. Who says federal judges have no sense of humor? Thanks to my buddy Dave for passing this along:

    A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history– with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila…

Vince v. Rock County, 604 F.3d 391 (7th Cir. 2010)(quoting U.S. v. Carelock, 459 F.3d 437 (2006)).

New Maryland Rule on Cellphones in Court

The Court of Appeals of Maryland has recently enacted a state-wide rule on the use and posession of cell phones and other electronic devices in courthouses.

Previously, posession and use of electronic devices was governed on a county-by-county basis and each court had its own rule. Some courts allowed everyone to have mobile devices, some restricted mobile devices to lawyers only, and some prohibited mobile devices entirely.

For lawyers with statewide practices (like me), this could be pretty confusing in terms of keeping track of whether I could have and use my own mobile device, and in terms of advising my clients about what they would be permitted to take into the courthouse. Sure there were signs, but they didn’t help much when you saw the sign on your way into the courthouse for a pre-trial conference and found out you would need to schedule a trial date without the calendar you stored electronically on your Blackberry. Yes, I am talking about you, Howard County.

Now the Court has adopted new Maryland Rule 16-110. Cell phones and other electronic devices may be taken into and used in all Maryland District and Circuit Courts. Of course, there are some restrictions. The devices are subject to inspection by security personnel, and may not be used to record or photograph court proceedings or in any other way that interferes with the work of the court. The rule also allows for modification by judges in cases where there are specific privacy or security concerns.

Notably, the Rule specifically allows lawyers to “make reasonable and lawful use of an electronic device in connection with the proceeding.” I take this to mean that for example, in a scheduling conference, an electronic device would be allowed to be used for calendaring, or to call the office to check calendar dates to schedule a trial.

I’m glad that the Court of Appeals has finally put into place a common-sense, statewide rule on this. Now if they’d only come up with a statewide rule on photo ID security passes for lawyers…..

A Truck Accident Injury Case is More Than a Car Accident Case on Steroids

Lawyers who do not regularly handle injury cases from truck accidents often think it is simply another car accident case, only with bigger vehicles. This could not be more wrong. Trucking accident injury cases have different factual and legal issues than car accident cases.

Although the factual differences are many, they will be addressed in a later post. This post is about some of the legal issues that are improtant in a truck accident case.

When they become involved in a lawsuit over a car crash, most people think it would be very helpful to their case if the other driver had a bad driving history, such as traffic violations or prior at-fault accidents. Of course, that would only be helpful if the jury ever found out about it. Usually they won’t. That is because generally the only issues at play in a car accident case are 1) was the drviver negligent; and 2) damages. Prior driving history is usually not relevant to either of these issues, and therefore isn’t admissible in evidence. For laymen, the jury isn’t told about prior driving history because it doesn’t have anything to do with whether the bad guy was negligent that day, or with the proper amount of damages.
Injury cases involving trucks or commercial vehciles are different. That is because usually, the vehicle is either owned or being operated on behalf of a trucking company or some other type of corporate entity. The driver is driving it because that’s the job he was hired to do.

In these kinds of cases, experienced lawyers generally bring a claim for negligent entrustment, hiring, or retention. This is a claim made by the injured person against the owner of the truck or the driver’s employer. It alleges that the owner or employer was negligent because they knew or should have known that it wasn’t safe to allow the driver to operate their truck, but did it anyway.

This lets you get into the hiring and employment process to determine if the driver had a bad record and whether the employer knew about it or should have known about it if a proper invesitgation was done. Did the driver tell the truth about his prior record on the application? Did he notify the employer of accidents or traffic violations during the employment? Did the employer check his record? When? How often?

The negligent entrustment claim allows you to get discovery of all these issues, and to put them before the jury. This can make a huge difference in cases where liability is contested because the individual case can become part of a larger pattern of the driver’s conduct.

One more reason to make sure your lawyer has experience in the kind of case you have. Issues like this won’t make a huge difference in every case, but in the cases where it matters, it’s an advantage you don’t want to give up.