Firm Scores Trifecta on Motions to Dismiss in Anne Arundel County

Silverman Thompson

In the last two weeks, Silverman Thompson lawyers have gone three for three on motions to dismiss argued before the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. On February 23, the leader of the Firm’s business litigation group, Bill Sinclair, argued against a motion to dismiss his client’s breach of contract claim. The case involved a realtor team suing one of its former agents for commissions on a transaction. The agent sought dismissal on the basis that, under the Maryland Real Property Code, only a broker is entitled to a commission and that the penalty in the contract was an unenforceable liquidated damages provision. The Circuit Court adopted plaintiff’s arguments, briefed by Sinclair and Emma Mulford and argued in court, that the Real Property Code did not apply and that it was inappropriate on a motion to dismiss to decide whether the clause at issue could be enforced. That case will now proceed to discovery.

On February 28, first year associate Meredith McKinnon argued in support of a motion to dismiss in a matter being handled by Sinclair, Todd Hesel and herself. The Firm’s client, a local private school, had sued the parent of one of its students after she posted defamatory material on her “influencer” web site about the school. She countersued the school and some of its employees. At issue were two counts of intentional interference with a parent-child relationship against two employees and corresponding respondeat superior counts against the school. The Circuit Court adopted the argument advanced by the Firm that the elements of the interference claims were not pled, and since the respondeat superior claims were predicated on the interference claims, they all failed.

Finally, on March 2, partner Ned Parent and associate Brittany Feinberg successfully defeated a motion to dismiss a petition asking the Court to take jurisdiction over a trust to remove its trustee. The dispute involves two separate actions involving separate trusts established by the Firm’s clients’ father. In each case, valuable assets (in excess of $7 million) that were intended, in significant part, to benefit the Firm’s clients were never transferred into the respective trust, and instead passed to the trustee (the father’s second wife) upon the father’s death. Mr. Parent and Ms. Feinberg successfully defeated a prior motion to dismiss without a hearing in the first action. On March 2, the Court agreed that discovery was warranted as to the circumstances under which the property at issue did not pass into trust, and thus whether the trustee should be removed due to a conflict of interest.

Silverman Thompson maintains an active business and fiduciary litigation practice in Maryland’s state courts. Please contact any of the attorneys mentioned in this article to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

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