F&P Principals Ralph Arnsdorf and Heather Rice Obtain Favorable Ruling from Maryland’s Appellate Court

Firm principals Ralph Arnsdorf and Heather Rice recently obtained a favorable and reported ruling from Maryland’s Appellate Court (formerly the Maryland Court of Special Appeals) in a case resulting from a recent mass shooting event that occurred at a warehouse in Aberdeen, Maryland.  This is an important ruling and the first reported opinion regarding a mass shooting in the state of Maryland. 

 In affirming the lower court’s ruling, Maryland’s Appellate Court found no liability for an employer (in this case, a temp agency) or a landowner where an unstable employee came to the workplace with a gun, shot and killed several people and wounded others before turning the gun on herself.  The Court found that the temp agency and warehouse owner were not liable and the shooting was unforeseeable. Neither the employer nor the landowner could have known the employee was dangerous to the workplace.

 The employer conducted proper, thorough background checks, including criminal background searches, which is the expectation for all employers and their hiring practices. Greater scrutiny may be required when employees are expected to interact with the public on a regular basis. When businesses and landowners are aware or reasonably should be aware of criminal activity in the area, they need to exercise reasonable efforts to provide adequate security in the workplace, including, but not limited to, surveillance and security personnel.

 Please contact Ralph Arnsdorf or Heather Rice with any questions on this opinion, and/or assistance evaluating future risks.

Click here to read the full opinion.

F&P Spotlight on Resource Specialist Stacy Rippetoe

What is your favorite aspect about working at F&P?
Overall, I love the people I work with. Everyone works extremely well together and is always more than willing to help each other out.

What’s your favorite restaurant?
Texas Roadhouse. I love their green beans.

What’s your proudest accomplishment?
I’d have to say my current role. I started at F&P 10 years ago as an administrative assistant. After four years I was offered the Resource Coordinator position which led me to the Resource Specialist position I am currently in. When I was little, I always wanted to grow up and be a teacher. Then in my later teens, I became obsessed with computers and technology.  So technically you can say I have landed my dream job. I teach people how to use computer programs.

What do you like to do outside the office?
I love spending time with my children. They are my everything, my best friends!

Have you read any good books or seen any good movies this year that you would recommend?
Purple Hearts. I highly recommend it. Have your tissues ready!

What was the best news you ever received?
It’s a boy!!! I love my girls of course, but always wanted that little boy and I got blessed with my main man in 2016.

What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world who would it be?
My grandmother just one last time. I lost her very young, and I have so much to tell her and show her. I think she’d be pretty proud of me and my accomplishments considering the hurdles life has thrown at me.

Do you have any bizarre talents?

F&P Principal Renee Bowen Named to ATRI Research Advisory Committee

F&P would like to congratulate principal Renee Bowen, who has been named to the ATRI (American Transportation Research Institute) Research Advisory Committee effective January 1, 2023. The committee determines the predominant research priorities for the trucking industry.

“ATRI’s RAC members serve a critical role in identifying and prioritizing the trucking industry’s top research needs. We congratulate all those appointed by the ATRI Board to serve in this important role and look forward to working with them,” said ATRI President Rebecca Brewster in the ATRI press release.

The Research Advisory Committee represents members of the trucking industry including suppliers, drivers, shippers, carriers, law enforcement, education, and government.

Since 1954, ATRI has conducted testing and research studies in transportation. Focused on safety, ATRI studies Congestion and Mobility; Economic Analysis; Safety and Security; Technology and Operations; Environment; and Transportation Infrastructure.

Click here to read ATRI’s full press release.

F&P Announces 2023 Attorney Promotions

Franklin & Prokopik proudly announces that we have promoted three counsel to principal and six associates to counsel.  Our attorneys exemplify the dedication and hard work that allows F&P to stand out in the legal field, and each has demonstrated acumen in the courtroom along with their peers at F&P.

Join F&P in congratulating these attorneys and thanking them for their hard work!


Ellen Stewart concentrates her litigation practice primarily in liability and insurance defense throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. She handles a variety of cases, including representing national and regional stores and restaurants in cases involving slip and falls and general premises liability; representing taxicabs, paratransit vehicles, and motor carriers in liability claims; and representing builders and contractors in construction defects and worksite incidents and injuries. Ellen has been selected to Maryland Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2014-2023.

Heather Rice has been on the firm’s liability team since 2016, where she concentrates her litigation practice on the defense of healthcare providers and medical institutions in medical malpractice claims. She is also experienced in defending against premises liability claims, products liability claims, dog bite claims, construction defect claims, commercial trucking accident claims, and claims against paratransit vehicles.  She has litigated numerous complex civil suits and has tried several jury trials throughout the state of Maryland. Heather has been recognized byMaryland Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2014–2023, and  Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, 2022-2023.

Renee Bowen is a zealous advocate for her clients, from defending clients in litigation to negotiating contracts on behalf of her clients to serving as general counsel to provide advice on daily business operations. Renee’s practice areas include commercial transportation, premises liability, construction, products liability, intentional torts, insurance coverage, employment, regulatory compliance, commercial litigation, professional liability, landlord/tenant, and business and corporate. As part of her transportation practice, Renee serves as national counsel for numerous motor carriers and insurers on issues related to predatory towing. She has been selected by Maryland Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2020-2023, and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, 2023


April Kerns
Brian Cunningham
James Hetzel
Jessica Corace
Miranda Russell
Patrick Wachter



Ralph Arnsdorf and Heather Rice Argue One of the Final Cases Before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals

On Monday, December 12, 2022, Principal Ralph Arnsdorf and Counsel, Heather Rice, participated in the last day of oral argument at the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.  In November, voters in Maryland voted to adopt a constitutional amendment changing the name of the Court from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to the Appellate Court of Maryland.  The Maryland Court of Appeals will now be known as the Maryland Supreme Court. Click here to read the original article regarding the court’s name change.

F&P Attorneys Selected to Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2023

Super Lawyers, a nationally recognized rating service of outstanding lawyers in more than 70 -practice areas,  has announced its Super Lawyers and Rising Star designees for 2023, and F&P is proud to announce that 17 of our attorneys have received this honor. Candidates are selected through peer review, professional competence, and attorney-led research staff. Each attorney is assessed on 12 indications of peer recognition and professional achievement. Rising Star qualifications include practicing for ten years or less and under 40. The Super Lawyers are comprised of the top 5% of attorneys in each state and Rising Stars 2.5%.


Super Lawyers

Angela Garcia Kozlowski

John Handscomb

Laura McKenzie

Maija Jackson

Michael Prokopik

Tamara Goorevitz

William “Skip” Crawford


Rising Stars

April Kerns

Bryce Ziskind

Ellen Stewart

Heather Rice

Kara Parker

Matthew LaFontaine

Michael Bennett

Miranda Russell

Patrick Wachter

Renee Bowen

F&P Receives Tier 1 “Best Law Firms” Rankings for 2023

For the fifth consecutive year, F&P has been awarded rankings by Best Lawyers and U.S. News & World Report in their 2023 “Best Law Firms” report. Two of our jurisdictions have been recognized, with Washington, D.C., receiving its first Tier One Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers designation. F&P is pleased to announce that we have received the following rankings:

2023 “Best Law Firms”

  • Baltimore
    • Tier 1 in Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers
  • Washington, D.C.
    • Tier 1 in Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers – Newly recognized as a Tier 1 “Best Law Firm” for this practice area in the 2023 edition 

To be eligible for consideration, a law firm must have at least one attorney recognized in the current edition of Best Lawyers in a “Best Law Firms” ranked practice area / metro area.

For 13 years, Best Lawyers and U.S. News and World Report have granted these honors to firms nationwide.  Tier 1 rankings include 9,787 metropolitan firms and 571 national firms.

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


The District of Columbia Court of Appeals Affirmed Summary Judgment In Harris Teeter Slip and Fall Case

A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals affirmed the Superior Court of the District of Columbia’s grant of summary judgment to Harris Teeter. Harris Teeter was sued by a customer who allegedly slipped on a liquid substance on the floor near a produce bin. The customer contended that there was seepage on the floor from overripe vegetables, but this was mere conjecture. The customer admittedly did not know what the alleged substance was, when it came to be on the floor, or how it came to be on the floor. After the discovery, Harris Teeter moved for summary judgment because the customer had not adduced any evidence that Harris Teeter had actual or constructive notice of any alleged substance. The Superior Court granted the motion and entered judgment in favor of Harris Teeter because there was no evidence that Harris Teeter caused the alleged substance to be on the floor, nor was there any evidence that Harris Teeter knew or should have known that an alleged substance was on the floor. The customer appealed the grant of summary judgment. The Court of Appeals agreed with the Superior Court’s analysis and affirmed the grant of summary judgment.  Ellen R. Stewart represented Harris Teeter throughout the proceedings. The case is Patricia Sneed v. Harris Teeter, LLC, 21-CV-397 (decided August 2, 2022, Per Curiam, unpublished).

Written by counsel Ellen R.Stewart.

F&P Attorneys Obtain Summary Judgment in Fatal Crash

We are pleased to announce another victory for the clients of Franklin & Prokopik, P.C. in the United States Courts. Joshua T. Carback and Andrew T. Stephenson obtained full summary judgment from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland in favor of a tractor-trailer driver involved in a fatal crash. The claims of the estate of the adverse driver/decedent included wrongful death, survivorship, and negligence. The court found the adverse driver/decedent contributorily negligent and therefore dismissed the case.


Written by associate Joshua T. Carback©.

F&P Ranks #13 on Law360’s 2022 Glass Ceiling Report

Franklin & Prokopik continues to make significant strides in gender equality, securing a national ranking on Law360’s annual “Glass Ceiling Report”.  The firm ranked 13th (a jump from 16th last year) for firms employing 100 or fewer attorneys.  This was in part due to our female representation highly exceeding the national average at both the equity and non-equity partner levels. In the equity partner category, F&P sits at 38.5%, and at 77.8% for non-equity partners, compared to less than a quarter of equity partners and 27% of non-equity partners at comparable firms nationwide. In addition, 22% of all the firm’s attorneys are female associates.

The methodology behind this year’s rankings (a redesign of the Glass Ceiling Report) shows how the percentage of women across the three attorney levels compares with the field of new hires. Law360 revised its methodology in response to the pandemic’s effect on female attorneys.  Women now comprise more than half of enrolled law school students. Despite this, female attorneys are still not achieving equity partner status or sitting on executive committees.

F&P strives to focus on hiring and promoting a diverse workforce and appreciates Law360 for recognizing the firm’s efforts to close the gender gap.

Please note, the data collected by Law360 was as of December 31, 2021.  F&P had multiple female promotions that went into effect on January 1, 2022, which will be reflected in next year’s report.   

Links to the complete articles can be found below (Law360 subscription required.)