7/7/2020: Steve Marshall Presents at the 2020 CLM Cyber, Management and Professional Liability Conference

F&P principal, Steve Marshall is co-presenting on “Litigation in Sound Bites: How to Prepare a Case in the New Millennium” today, July 7, at the 2020 CLM Cyber, Management & Professional Liability Conference. The presentation addresses technological challenges in today’s world and the best practice for trial and litigation regarding social media in discovery. Steve will also discuss the use of exhibits during litigation, case theme strategies, evaluating a case early for settlement, and “how to avoid the ‘reptile’ plaintiff.”

The CLM is a member of The Institutes with a membership of about 45,000 professionals in the claims and litigation management industries. For more information, visit The CLM’s website at https://www.theclm.org/.



Tamara Goorevitz to Speak On Implications of Liability Claims Amid the COVID Pandemic

F&P principal Tamara Goorevitz is speaking in a two-part webinar series titled “COVID King: Investigating and Defending the Liability Mayhem and Madness” hosted by USLAW on June 9 at 3:0o pm.

As business and government navigate the complex issues regarding re-opening businesses, insurance, and risk management specialists will inevitably face COVID-19 related liability claims and must lay the groundwork on how to investigate and defend these claims. This webinar will also address how the CDC and Executive Orders will impact these extraordinary challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The series will explore the following topics: what are potential liability claims, how do Executive Orders and CDC guidelines affect potential liability, what causation issues may arise, and what to expect regarding experts. Michael Kunsch of Sweeney & Sheehan, P.C., will be co-facilitate with Tamara.

To find out more about this session or to register for Part 2 (June 9 at 3 p.m. ET), click bordering the link REGISTER.

Visit USLAW’s website at https://web.uslaw.org to find out more about USLAW.


Jury Finds Willful Misconduct Bars Compensability in High Exposure Case

F&P attorney Mike Bennett successfully defended a workers’ compensation claim for benefits by convincing a jury that the claimant’s actions amounted to willful misconduct.

The case was tried before the Honorable Dwight Jackson in the Circuit Court for Calvert County on February 13 and 14, 2020. The jury’s decision saved the employer, a treatment facility that provides mental health services exclusively for first responders, considerable exposure due to the nature of the injuries involved in the accident.

The claimant was employed as a nursing assistant and was attempting to gain access to the nurses’ station to assist a patient who had just finished treatment.

The door that normally would have been used to gain access to the station was locked, resulting in the claimant being separated from the station by a barricade that was approximately three feet tall and four feet wide.  The evidence showed that there were numerous options available to the claimant to unlock the door and safely gain access to the station, including three master keys within just a short walk.  Instead of exploring these options, the claimant decided to transverse the barricade with the assistance of the patient, and in the process, ended up with numerous injuries that required multiple surgeries.

Generally speaking, it can be very difficult for employers and insurers to prevail on a willful misconduct defense for a number of reasons.  For starters, there is a statutory presumption that an injured worker did not engage in willful misconduct.  If the defense can overcome this presumption, they must then prove that an accident meets five separate and distinct elements.  If any of those elements fail, so does the entire defense of willful misconduct.

One of the five elements of willful misconduct is that the employer has a rule prohibiting the action that caused the accident. This particular element forced the defense to get creative as the employer did not have an explicit rule against employees climbing over barricades.  Instead, Mike Bennett argued to the jury that there was an implied rule against this specific action.  In order to buttress this position, the defense introduced testimony from witnesses that they collectively have never seen or heard of anyone climbing over a nurses’ station while working in the field.  The jury agreed with Mr. Bennett in convincing fashion, as it took just 15 minutes to reach its verdict.

F&P Spotlight on Associate Patrick Toohey

What’s your favorite thing about working with your clients?
We’re in the business of minimizing risk and saving money for our clients. To that end, a good result is extremely gratifying and our clients aren’t shy about expressing their satisfaction.

What is your favorite aspect about working at F&P?
The comradery. We are all interested in each other’s success.

What’s your favorite restaurant/show/event in Baltimore (city where the person practices)?
Locust Point (“LP”) Steamers. Best crabs in Baltimore.

What’s your proudest accomplishment?
Securing a reversal in my first district court appeal in circuit court.

What do you like to do outside the office?
Play a lot of golf.

What is your all-time favorite city or town and why?
Baltimore, of course. 

Andrew Stephenson is Honored with ACTA Invitation

F&P principal Andrew Stephenson has received the honor of being invited to join the American College of Transportation Attorneys (ACTA). This select group limits membership to only 25 members, comprised of transportation defense lawyers, all serving more than 20 years in the trucking industry. Andrew is a seasoned civil litigator, with a primary focus on defending companies against civil suits involving catastrophic losses. He also defends corporations and individuals in civil matters involving commercial transportation, construction, paratransit, intentional torts, premises, and products liability.

ACTA, a non-profit association, serves as a legal resource to the trucking industry. F&P founding member, Bob Franklin, was also a founding member of ACTA and served until his death in 2013. For more information about ACTA, please visit their website at http://www.actalawgroup.org/.




Associate Tiffany Vrabac Published in VADA Journal

Herndon liability associate, Tiffany Vrabac has been published in the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys’ (VADA) Journal. Her article, “#BLOG-POST-&-TWEET-AT-YOUR-OWN-RISK” addresses how the ethical obligations and the Rules of Professional Conduct still apply when posting on social media platforms.

To read the entire article, click on the link: 32-1 Blog Post Tweet–Vrabac.

This article originally appeared in the Journal of Civil Litigation, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Spring 2020), a publication of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys. It appears here with permission.

F&P’s COVID-19 Advisory Group

The Advisory Group consists of F&P Attorneys Albert B. Randall, Jr., Tamara B. GoorevitzWilliam A. CrawfordSarah S. Lemmert, and John K. Archibald.

We will continue to monitor this fluid situation and stand ready to guide you through these challenges.  We are also hosting a complimentary COVID-19 webinar series, with the next two chapters taking place on March 18 and March 24 at 2pm.

For additional resources please click on the following links:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – COVID-19

World Health Organization COVID-19 Updates

US Department of Labor – OSHA: COVID-19

Maryland Business Express – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Businesses

DC Health

Delaware Health and Social Services

Maryland Department of Health

Virginia Department of Health

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services

F&P Announces the Return of Two Attorneys to the Baltimore Office

Franklin & Prokopik is pleased to announce that two attorneys have recently re-joined the Baltimore office. Scarlett Corso returns at the counsel level after serving as counsel for the Travelers Indemnity Company with The Law Offices of Joseph M Jagielski. She concentrates her civil litigation practice in the areas of liability defense for both premises liability and trucking transportation, as well as liability insurance subrogation for property damage claims.

Associate Chris Smith returns to the workers’ compensation team after a brief hiatus. He has handled hundreds of workers’ compensation cases of varying complexity on behalf of employers and insurers before the Workers’ Compensation Commission and on appeal in the circuit courts throughout Maryland.

F&P Attorneys Continue to Participate in Law School Diversity Programs

F&P associate Vernon Brownlee credits the University of Baltimore’s Fanny Angelos Program for Academic Excellence for helping him achieve his goal of attending law school. Vernon and Adam Shareef, also an associate at F&P, attended a hearing before a Senate panel in support of a bill that would distribute state funds into programs sponsored by Maryland’s historically black colleges and universities. The University of Maryland’s Diversity and Inclusion Scholars Initiative and the University of Baltimore’s Fanny Angelos Program for Academic Excellence would be beneficiaries of this funding.

F&P has been a longtime supporter of Fanny Angelos and believes programs such as these are imperative to achieve better diversity and inclusion efforts in the legal industry.  The firm sponsors its annual gala, which principal Imoh Akpan Co-Chairs.

For more information on Senate Bill 335, click on the link to read the complete article which was first published in the Daily Record on February 12, 2020. Senate bill would help fund diversity programs at law schools – Maryland Daily Record