F&P Attorney John Simanski Secures Defense Verdict in Recent District Court Trial

On February 3, 2020, F&P associate, John Simanski, received a judgment in favor of the defense in Baltimore City District Court.  The case stemmed from a July 21, 2018 accident in Baltimore City involving Boma Kollie and a driver employed by the defendant.

The plaintiff alleged that the driver of the fuel truck, who was driving in the left lane on Pratt Street, had veered into the middle lane and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle from the right.  However, the driver’s recollection of the events mirrored the independent eyewitnesses to the accident, which was that the driver never changed lanes and did not veer into the middle lane.  Instead, the plaintiff had made the unsafe lane change.

At trial, Simanski argued that the driver acted as a reasonable person and never changed lanes while operating his vehicle on Pratt Street, and that that the plaintiff breached her duty to the driver when she negligently attempted to change lanes to access the parking lot at the location of the accident. The driver also testified that this was a route he took daily and when he turned onto Pratt Street, he always stayed in the left lane until he reached President Street where he would turn onto the Jones Falls Expressway.  The driver would have no reason to alter his route or change lanes. In addition, the eyewitness testified that the plaintiff stated, after the accident, that she was trying to make a left turn into a parking lot at the intersection of Pratt and South Street.

The judge sided with the defense, finding that the plaintiff attempted to make a left turn onto South Street and did not see the fuel truck, and caused the accident.  As a result, the judge found that the plaintiff was the sole and proximate cause of the accident, ruling in favor of the defense.

Counsel Sarah Lemmert Appointed Co-Chair of Maryland Defense Counsel Subcommittee

Franklin & Prokopik counsel, Sarah Lemmert, has recently been appointed to the Workers’ Compensation Subcommittee of the Maryland Defense Counsel, Inc (MDC). The MDC strives to bridge the gap between employers and insurers and the Workers’ Compensation Committee, helping them to effectively communicate their issues to the commission and the legislature.  The committee meets each month to review recent cases, and proposed rule or procedural changes at the commission.

With 500 members and 57 years serving Maryland, the MDC is one of the larger civil defense attorney organizations in the country. For more information about the Maryland Defense Counsel, Inc., visit the website at http://www.mddefensecounsel.org/index.html

F&P Attorneys Achieve Summary Judgment in Wrongful Death Suit

On Thursday, December 5, 2019, F&P attorneys Imoh Akpan and G. Calvin Awkward, III, successfully achieved summary judgment in a negligent security/wrongful death matter located in Prince George’s County. The case involved a triple murder in an apartment complex. The killer was a known assailant as well as the ex-boyfriend of one of the tenants/decedents. The ex-boyfriend had also been barred from the apartment complex.

The events in the incident transpired as follows. The ex-boyfriend was let into the apartment by the ex-girlfriend’s mother. There was a family gathering going on, and the ex-boyfriend stayed and mingled with the family. After most of the family members left, the ex-boyfriend shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, her mother, and another person. The legal issues were (1) whether there was a duty owed since the murders happened inside the apartment as opposed to the common areas and (2) whether the alleged breach of duty – broken locks on the front door of the apartment building – was the proximate cause of the murders. While there was a perceived dispute about the functionality of the lock to the decedents’ apartment building, there was no dispute that the lock to the front door of their apartment was in working order.

Under Hemmings v. Pelham Wood, LLP, 375 Md. 522 (2003), the fact that an injury happened in the leased premises as opposed to the common area does not absolve or relieve the landlord from its general duty to take reasonable security measures. A plaintiff can claim that failure to remedy a defect in the common area led to an injury in the leased premises. In addition to alleged faulty locks on the front door of the apartment building, the plaintiffs argued that the owner/property manager failed to enforce our barring notice against the ex-boyfriend. Ultimately, the trial court found that there was no proximate causation because even if the ex-boyfriend had entered the apartment building due to the alleged faulty locks, the decedents were still “safe” inside their apartment until they voluntarily let him in.

F&P Attorneys Selected to 2020 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Super Lawyers has announced its 2020 selections for both Maryland Super Lawyers and Rising Stars. Super Lawyers is a nationally recognized rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Their objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.

Super Lawyer candidates are selected via peer nomination or identification by the research team and are then evaluated using 12 indicating factors. No more than 5% of attorneys in Maryland are selected for the Super Lawyers list and no more than 2.5% are selected as Rising Stars.

2020 Super Lawyers:

Goorevitz, Tamara B. (Transportation)
Handscomb, John J. (Workers’ Compensation)
Jackson, Maija B. (Workers’ Compensation)
Kozlowski, Angela Garcia (Workers’ Compensation)
McKenzie, Laura S. (Workers’ Compensation)
Prokopik, Michael W. (Workers’ Compensation)

2020 Rising Stars:

Akpan, Imoh E. (Civil Litigation: Defense)
Archibald, John K. (Workers’ Compensation)
Bennett, Michael T. (Workers’ Compensation)
Bowen, Renee L. (Transportation)
Rice, Heather A. (Personal Injury General: Defense)
Stewart, Ellen R. (Civil Litigation: Defense)
Temple, III, James J. (Workers’ Compensation)
Toohey, Patrick F. (Civil Litigation: Defense)
Troese, Antonio S. (Workers’ Compensation)

Franklin & Prokopik Receives “Best Law Firms” Ranking for 2020

The U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers released their “Best Law Firms” rankings for 2020 on November 1st. F&P received the Tier 1 designation for Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers and Tier 2 for Employment Law – Management in Baltimore as well as Tier 3 Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers in Washington, D.C. metro area.

Rankings are determined by ratings from clients and peers. A firm must also have an attorney recognized in Best Lawyers in America, which includes the top 5% of private practicing lawyers in the United States. For the 2020 rankings, 14,931 law firms were reviewed, including 75 practice areas, the outcome being 2,106 firms receiving the national law firm ranking.

To find out more about these rankings and the “Best Law Firms” process, please visit the website at https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/.

F&P Welcomes Four Associates in September

Franklin & Prokopik welcomes three new liability associates and one workers’ comp associate to the firm this September.

Tiffany Vrabac joins the Herndon office focusing her practice on construction, insurance coverage, liability defense, product liability, and trucking and transportation. Prior to joining F&P, Tiffany worked as a litigation associate at an insurance firm in Florida. She represented insureds in bodily injury defense, property damage, complex litigation, and catastrophic cases.

Matthew West is the newest workers’ compensation associate in Baltimore. Matthew, a Baltimore native, is the first attorney in his family. After graduating from law school, Matthew completed a one-year clerkship with Magistrate Theresa A. Furnari in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. His hands-on experience has provided him with both a unique perspective and the ability to perform in the courtroom.

Joining Baltimore’s liability and trucking and transportation teams are David Fraser and John Simanski. David Fraser comes to F&P from the law firm of McCabe, Weisberg & Conway, LLC where he concentrated his practice handling foreclosure cases. He represented banks and loan servicers in residential foreclosure cases, handling all aspects of the foreclosure process from pre-sale to eviction.

Before coming to F&P, John Simanski served as Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert E. Cahill Jr. in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. While in law school, John worked as an adjuster for Travelers in the Special Liability Group. Furthermore, John served as a law clerk at Rollins, Smalkin, Richards and Mackie, L.L.C.

Bert Randall and Tamara Goorevitz to Speak at Industry Events

On September 18, principal Bert Randall will present “The Grass Isn’t Always Greener: Marijuana at Work” at the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA. This session will focus on the “legal” (or not) ramifications of marijuana use at work. Bert will also cover recent federal and state legislative and regulatory developments as well as focus on policy issues that employers must be concerned with when dealing with marijuana in the workplace.

SAPAA is a non-profit that provides information regarding substance abuse detection, how to meet the changing regulations by offering professional education in drug and alcohol testing, strategic planning, DOT developments, legal issues, and leadership. For more information on the conference, click on the link:

https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.sapaa.com/resource/resmgr/2019_conference/SAPAA_2019_Annual_Conference.pdf.

Tamara Goorevitz, a principal with Franklin & Prokopik is slated to speak on Wednesday, September 18 at the Arkansas Trucking Seminar. Tamara will serve as a moderator for the 2:00 pm workshop titled, “Beyond the Basics: Best Practices for Effective Accident Investigation and Early Case Evaluation.” This seminar is for people who are associated with trucking litigation. The three-day event also features networking opportunities, a community service project as well as the educational breakout sessions.

The Arkansas Trucking Seminar is held yearly in Rogers, Arkansas and members of the trucking industry, in the United States and Canada, are welcome to attend. For more information about this event, click on the link http://www.walescomstock.com/arkansas-trucking-seminar/.

Bert Randall to Speak at Millennium Seminars in New Jersey

Franklin & Prokopik principal, Bert Randall, will serve as a panel speaker on Thursday, September 12 at “Everything You Wanted to Know About New Jersey Workers’ Compensation.” This event is being held at the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Starting at 11:00 am Bert, along with two other attorneys , will discuss “Comparing New Jersey Comp Law to Maryland, Delaware, D.C. and Virginia Laws.” A sample of topics that will be covered include how comp cases are settled in each state, how wages and rates are calculated and which penalties employers need to worry about.

Millennium Seminars are designed for insurance professionals and practitioners to help them to develop and improve the skills necessary to handle workers’ compensation claims.

For more information about the event, please visit the website at https://www.capehart.com/event/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-new-jersey-workers-compensation/.

Jennifer Banach Re-Appointed to Maryland State Bar Association Committee

Counsel Jennifer Banach has recently been re-appointed to serve on the CLE and Publications Committee for the Maryland State Bar Association. Jennifer works in F&P’s Hagerstown focusing her practice on liability defense and workers’ compensation and employers’ liability.

Jennifer has served on this committee since 2012. Last year she authored a publication, in conjunction with the MSBA, entitled “The Maryland Model Jury Selection Questions for Maryland Criminal and Civil Trials.” The committee also works to create a certification program for attorneys who have expertise in a variety of practice areas.

The MSBA is a member organization that serves to represent attorneys in Maryland and to promote professionalism and diversity. To learn more, please visit the website at www.msba.org.

F&P Principals Named Best Lawyers for 2020

The Best Lawyers in America recently released the recipients of the 2020 Best Lawyers designation.  Franklin & Prokopik is proud to announce that three of its principals have received this honor. Lynn McHale Fitzpatrick, resident in our Herndon office, was recognized for Workers Compensation Law – Employers for the third time as was Baltimore firm president Bert Randall along with Employment Law – Management.  Ralph Arnsdorf, also of our Baltimore office, received recognition for the first time in Litigation – Construction.

The Best Lawyer recognition is a peer review process where leading lawyers evaluate colleagues who are practicing in the same geographic area as well as the same legal practice area. The candidate is then selected based on feedback analysis and eligibility checks.

For more information on Best Lawyers, please visit the website at https://www.bestlawyers.com/.