Brown, Goldstein & Levy and Divorce Marketing are pleased to provide you with a monthly e-newsletter containing articles that we hope will be helpful, informative, and interesting.
In this issue:
Shared Parenting - Shared parenting can work, and children today will benefit enormously if there’s more of it.
Build a happy healthy life together: Part 2 - A happy life also depends on helping each other extend your circle of love and good will beyond the two of you (Pt 2).
Don’t get hung up on fairness - This judge explains how in divorce court, arguing about whether something is fair is usually a waste of time.
The children’s best interest counts most - Nothing is more important than your children, and you must prove this by acting in their best interests. No matter what.
Top six tips to avoid financial disaster - Having your finances in order during your divorce can help avoid a lot of unnecessary added stress.
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Andy Freeman served as co-counsel in a case that won a 2013 CLAY Award
The California Lawyer published its 2013 CLAY (California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year) Awards, recognizing lawyers throughout California whose legal work made a significant impact in 2012. One of the cases selected was a class action that challenged certain fee increases at the University of California as a breach of contract. The court’s award of $48.5 million to nearly 3,000 former students who pursued professional degrees, including law and medical degrees, was affirmed on appeal in 2012. Andy Freeman of Brown, Goldstein & Levy served as co-counsel.
Link to California Lawyer article
A constitutional victory
The Maryland Board of Public Works reversed course and decided to obey a federal judge’s order to pay $200,000 in attorneys’ fees stemming from a challenge to a state policy that limited First Amendment-protected activities, including voter registration, at transit stops.
Andy Freeman and Laura Abelson represent the plaintiffs in obtaining attorneys’ fees.
Companies violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
Judge Catherine C. Blake, U.S. District Court, ruled that The Walt Disney Co. and Zone Enterprises of Maryland LLC owe employees of the former ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor back pay for shutting down in 2010 without giving the notices requires by federal law.
Andy Freeman and Brooke Lierman represent the former ESPN Zone workers.
Garnishment of state property weighed
Civil rights lawyers say they will take any steps necessary, including garnishing the property of the state or certain state officials, after the Maryland Board of Public Works refused to honor a federal court order to pay their attorneys’ fees in a voter-registration case. The attorneys’ fee order stems from the settlement of a 5-year-old civil rights lawsuit over a Maryland Transit Administration regulation that prevented voter registration at bus and train stations.
Andy Freeman and Laura Abelson represent the plaintiffs in obtaining attorneys’ fees.
Well-known criminal defense attorney has joined the firm
Joshua Treem, a prominent trial attorney, has joined Brown, Goldstein & Levy. Dan Goldstein said “The firm is especially pleased that Josh has joined our team. He is a highly respected member of the legal community and will make a substantial addition to our criminal practice. I have known and admired Josh since we were both Assistant U.S. Attorneys years ago, and we are thrilled to have him as our partner.”
Download Press Release PDF
Download Daily Record Article
Two BGL associates chosen as 2013 Rising Stars
Brown, Goldstein & Levy is proud to announce that all nine of our partners were selected as 2013 Maryland Super Lawyers and that Greg Care and Brooke Lierman were chosen as 2013 Maryland Rising Stars.
Named Super Lawyers:
C. Christopher Brown
Joseph B. Espo
Andrew D. Freeman
Daniel F. Goldstein
Andrew D. Levy
Dana W. McKee
Stuart O. Simms
Joshua R. Treem
Selected as Rising Stars:
Gregory P. Care
Brooke E. Lierman
The Federal Lawyer – December 2012
Access to digital technology is a new frontier in the enforcement of civil rights for persons with disabilities. In these cases, the analysis turns not on accommodations or architectural guidelines, but whether the person with a disability has equal access to a program or activity which, in the digital world, often centers on the need for effective communication. Dan Goldstein & Greg Care discuss how the inherent flexibility of digital information and the explosion in popularity of digital devices, software, and content in government, business, education, and social life should be a powerful engine for integration of people with disabilities through equal access.
LGBT Legal 101 will be offered at the offices of Brown, Goldstein & Levy on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Working with LGBT clients
Transgender Basics- name & gender changes
Current landscape of LGBT family law
Aaron Merki, Esq., FreeState Legal Project
Jessie Weber, Esq., Brown, Goldstein & Levy
Mark Scurti, Esq., Pessin Katz Law
Participating attorneys must be barred in Maryland and agree to take at least one pro bono case from FreeState Legal Project. Mentors, case support, and malpractice insurance will be available to attorneys taking pro bono cases.
Questions? Contact Kiah Elmore, Recruitment & Training Coordinator, at 443-703-3046 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register, please complete the form on www.ProBonoMD.org and e-mail it to Kelmore@ProBonoMD.org.
Download PDF of flyer
Same-sex marriage will boost family law practice
Family law attorneys in Maryland predict that the passage of a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage in the state earlier this month will be a boon to business, but are proceeding with caution as they navigate previously uncharted legal territory. Dana McKee, who was interviewed in the article, said the legalization of same-sex marriages provides a huge opportunity for same-sex couples as to where they go for legal services.
Black residents, HUD conclude their 17-year legal dispute
A Baltimore federal judge approved a settlement in a 17-year-old legal dispute between black public housing residents in the city and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The lawsuit claimed that thousands of black families were “perpetually” locked into areas of concentrated poverty in the city, which maintained racial discrimination. The settlement calls for the continuation of the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program, which enables public housing tenants in blighted areas to move to other parts of the city or the suburbs. “It was a very good day for the cause of providing opportunity to low-income families,” said Andrew D. Freeman, who represented the black public housing residents.
Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum, Sallie Krawcheck, Dana McKee at Network 2000′s Women of Excellence Luncheon
Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum and Dana McKee attended Network 2000’s 19th Annual Women of Excellence Luncheon on November 14, 2012 at Martin’s West. The featured speaker at the event was Sallie Krawcheck, who was ranked in Forbes and Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women in Business” and U.S. Banker named her the top “Woman to Watch.” In addition, Krawcheck was CNBC’s “Business Leader of the Future,” one of Time magazine’s “Global Business Influentials,” Fortune’s “Most Influential Person Under the Age of 40,” and Institutional Investor’s “Top CFO in Financial Services.”
Network 2000 is a Maryland-based not-for-profit organization composed of professional women and men. The organization’s mission is to promote the placement of women on corporate boards and in executive suites and to educate the public on the benefits of having women in decision-making positions. In addition, members serve as role models and mentors to mid-level professional women seeking to achieve their full professional potential.
“I am just relieved.”
After a four-day trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court, the jury reached its verdict that Charline Rolley, former senior staffer to City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young, does not have to repay the city the salary that she received for maternity and sick leave she took while she was working for the Council President in 2010-2011. “The city spent a lot of time and resources trying to blame one of its most dedicated employees,” commented Brooke Lierman, who represented Mrs. Rolley.
NFB applauds settlement
Four blind patrons, with assistance from the National Federation of the Blind, filed suit against the Free Library of Philadelphia because the library began lending NOOK Simple Touch e-readers, which are completely inaccessible to patrons who are blind. Under the terms of the settlement that was reached, the library will purchase ten accessible e-readers to supplement the devices it has already purchased, and within four years will use only accessible e-reading devices. The library will also incorporate an accessibility requirement into its technology procurement contracts. Dan Goldstein represented the four blind patrons.
PDF of the NFB Press Release
The ABA’s Appellate Practice Compendium
Melvin J. Sykes, C. Christopher Brown, Andrew D. Levy & Gregory P. Care from the law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP were selected to write the chapter on the Insider’s Guide to the Maryland Appellate Courts, which appears in the ABA’s Appellate Practice Compendium.
This compendium is intended as a guide for out-of-state attorneys (as well as in-state attorneys) who are not familiar with the state and federal appellate courts.
Mel Sykes was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the Appellate Law practice area and was chosen as “Baltimore Best Lawyers’ Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year” for 2012. Only a single lawyer in each specialty area in each community is selected to be “Lawyer of the Year.” Those selected have earned a high level of respect among other leading lawyers in the same communities and same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity.
Landmark court ruling
On October 10, 2012, Judge Harold Baer of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the National Federation of the Blind’s Motion for Summary Judgment in The Authors’ Guild v. HathiTrust case.
Dan Goldstein, Laura Abelson, and Jessie Weber from Brown, Goldstein & Levy represented the National Federation of the Blind and three individual blind students and faculty members at the defendant universities. Noting the “eloquent oral argument of Mr. Goldstein,” Judge Baer’s decision adopted the NFB’s arguments regarding fair use under the Copyright Act and permits university libraries to digitize their entire collections of books and printed media to make them searchable for all members of the university communities and fully accessible and available to the blind and print disabled. The decision not only allows access to members of the university communities, but it allows the university libraries to make ten million accessible books available to blind readers around the country.
The Authors’ Guild initially sued the HathiTrust (the repository of the Google books university scans) and several participating universities, alleging violations of the Copyright Act for the mass digitization of their collections. The NFB intervened because this is the largest accessible digital collection in the world. The University of Michigan has already made its collection available to students with print disabilities, revolutionizing library access for those students.
Summary Judgment PDF
NFB Press Release
Chris Brown recognized for his lifetime of legal service to civil liberties and ACLU clients
On October 4, 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland honored Chris Brown with the 2012 Elisabeth Gilman Award for his commitment and impact as General Counsel of the ACLU and his lifetime of legal service to civil liberties and ACLU clients.
Chris’s dedication and leadership have driven the ACLU of Maryland in its endeavor to promote the power of the individual to challenge inequality and remedy injustice.
Brown, Goldstein & Levy is proud of Chris and all of his accomplishments.
Download PDF of Press Release
Link to ACLU video
Unable to find work since the collision
A Baltimore jury awarded more than $7 million to a roofer who has suffered debilitating back pain after an automobile collision in December 2005. Because of Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages, the Baltimore City Circuit judge reduced the award to Jamie Blake to $2.7 million. Andy Freeman, Stu Simms, and Jessie Weber represented the former roofer.
Two BGL partners are among a distinguished group of attorneys who have been listed in Best Lawyers for ten years or longer
We are proud to announce that five Brown, Goldstein & Levy attorneys were recognized in the 2013 edition of Best Lawyers in America. Two of the five are among a distinguished group of attorneys who have been listed in Best Lawyers for ten years or longer and one of these is listed in five categories.
Best Lawyers in America Selects Andy Levy as Litigation – Labor & Employment “Lawyer of the Year” in Baltimore
Congratulations to Andy Levy on his selection as the Baltimore Best Lawyers Litigation – Labor & Employment Lawyer of the Year for 2013. Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year.”
The lawyers being honored as “Lawyers of the Year” have received particularly high ratings in Best Lawyers’ surveys by earning a high level of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity.
From the Summer 2012 issue of Future Reflections, a publication of the National Federation of the Blind
Angelica Gomez explains her family’s struggle in securing an education for their blind daughter. Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum assisted this family in obtaining the services this child desperately needed.
Our Fight to Obtain Braille Instruction
This story appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Future Reflections, a publication of the National Federation of the Blind. Holly Miller describes her family’s struggle to obtain braille instruction for their son. Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum and Jessie Weber participated in a nine-day hearing which resulted in a victory for this blind child who is now receiving the braille instruction that he needs.
Community associations must be afforded due process in all Liquor Board proceedings
On September 7, 2012, a Baltimore City Circuit Court ruled that the Baltimore Board of Liquor License Commissioners had violated the due process rights of a community association when it allowed the transfer of a liquor license without a hearing and based upon ex parte communications. The Coldstream Homestead Montebello Community Corporation, Inc. (CHM) challenged the decision by the Baltimore City Liquor Board to permit the transfer of a liquor license attached to Dew Liquors on Harford Road. Brooke Lierman, who represented CHM and successfully argued the motion, said after the ruling, “Hopefully, this decision will send a clear message to the Liquor Board, and to those counsel appearing before it, that they cannot circumvent community associations and state laws in an attempt to push through their requests for a license or a transfer. Community associations must be afforded due process in all liquor board proceedings. After all, owning a liquor license is a privilege, not a right.” The Court vacated the decision and remanded it for a new hearing.
Subject to court approval, HUD settlement resolves class action filed in 1995
In a move that could wrap up more than 17 years of legal wrangling over fair housing options in Baltimore, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the city housing department have filed a proposed settlement agreement of a class action by public housing residents. Among the conditions is the continuation of the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program, which voluntarily places public housing tenants throughout the city or the suburbs. Andy Freeman represented the plaintiffs.
Technology and the ADA
Andy Levy, Chair of the Maryland Commission on Disabilities, spoke at the Maryland Celebration of the 22nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act held at UMBC on July 26, 2012. The theme of the celebration was technology and its ability to empower individuals with disabilities. In his remarks, Andy noted critical developments that imperil the ADA.
Andy Levy testified before the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution in opposition to House Bill HR 3356, the so-called ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services Act of 2011.
If enacted, HR 3356 would amend the Americans with Disabilities Act to require individuals with a disability to satisfy complicated and costly procedural conditions before suing violators of the Act regardless of how clear the violation is or how long it has existed.
Andy testified “that the proposed amendment will make enforcement of the ADA increasingly cumbersome and expensive. Worse, it will eliminate much of the existing incentive businesses have to attempt to comply with the law voluntarily. The net result of this is that there will be much less voluntary compliance with the law’s requirement that places of public accommodation be accessible to all.”
Download full testimony
Stu Simms honored by Baltimore Child Abuse Center
Stu Simms has been awarded Baltimore Child Abuse Center’s first Founder’s Award, recognizing his efforts in co-founding the organization in 1987. His vision, leadership, and advocacy insured that child victims of sexual abuse in Baltimore would be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 BGL Disability Rights Fellowship. This fellowship will begin on September 3, 2013 and end on August 29, 2014. The application deadline is Friday, November 16, 2012. Thank you for your interest.
Please use the following links to download the BGL Disability Rights Fellowship brochure and application:
Daniel F. Goldstein selected as Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America
Daniel F. Goldstein, co-founding partner of the law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, has been selected for Fellowship in the Litigation Counsel of America. The LCA is a trial lawyer honorary society whose membership is limited to less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Fellowship in the LCA is highly selective and by invitation only. Fellows are selected based upon effectiveness and accomplishment in litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels, and superior ethical reputation.
BGL Honored With Legal Aid Pacesetters Award
Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP was honored at the 15th Annual Equal Justice Council Recognition Breakfast held at M&T Bank Stadium on May 23, 2012. The Equal Justice Council recognized the law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy with its Pacesetters Award for the firm’s outstanding contribution and service to the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau.
Chris Brown receives BNI Fair Housing Award
On May 23, 2012, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. awarded Chris Brown, co-founder of the law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, the inaugural Dickens Warfield Fair Housing Award for his years of support in successfully advancing BNI’s fair housing litigation.
Dismissal of Dr. Riley’s charges
The State’s Attorney for Cecil County dropped all charges in the murder prosecution of Dr. Nicola Riley. This action was taken a week before a hearing was to be held on her motion to dismiss all charges. Dr. Riley and her lawyers were confident that she would prevail on that motion because the conduct the State’s Attorney charged is not a crime under Maryland law. The State’s Attorney’s decision to drop the charges confirms that he knew he could not prevail. Our client has been and continues to be appalled that the State ever brought this case.
Lots of legal do’s and don’ts
Dana McKee, who heads the Brown Goldstein & Levy Family Law practice, was interviewed by Baltimore Bride magazine and was quoted in an article regarding the many legal do’s and don’ts to consider when getting married, which appears in the publication’s 2012 issue. Such aspects as name changes, prenuptial agreements, marital property, financial issues, and wills are discussed.
Complaint says owner refused to honor group’s reservation
The Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM) and three blind men, who were denied access to paintball matches at the Route 40 Paintball Park in White Marsh, filed a federal lawsuit against the park for violating federal and state civil rights laws. The laws require places of public accommodation like the park to offer their activities and services on a free and equal basis and not discriminate on the basis of disability. The plaintiffs are represented by Stu Simms and Greg Care.
Mel Sykes named Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year
Congratulations to Melvin J. Sykes, Of Counsel to Brown, Goldstein & Levy, on his selection as the Baltimore Best Lawyers Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year for 2012. Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year.” Those lawyers were selected based on ratings from their peers, having earned a high level of respect among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity.
Andy Levy wins Leadership in Law Award
Andy Levy was selected to receive The Daily Record‘s 2011 Leadership in Law Award. The Daily Record began the Leadership in Law Awards in 2000 as a way to recognize the outstanding work being done by members of the legal community throughout Maryland.
Best Lawyers Selects Five BGL Attorneys
Brown, Goldstein & Levy is proud to announce that five of its attorneys are recognized in the 2012 edition of Best Lawyers in America. Two of the five are among a distinguished group of attorneys who have been listed in Best Lawyers for ten years or longer and one of these is listed in five categories.
Congratulations to Chris Brown, Andy Levy, Mel Sykes, Dan Goldstein, and Andy Freeman.
4th Circuit Orders Md. to Pay ACLU’s Fees in Voter Registration Case
by Steve Lash
Maryland must pay attorneys’ fees stemming from a challenge to restrictions on voter registration activities at Baltimore transit stations, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held. “When the state violates its citizens’ rights, it is obligated to pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees,” said Andrew D. Freeman, who assisted the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland in the case. The lawsuit was filed in January 2007 after MTA police ordered workers from Project Vote and the now-defunct ACORN to stop voter registration efforts at the Mondawmin Mall subway station and the Penn North bus stop in Baltimore.
Dan Goldstein Selected for Prestigious Disability Rights Award
Our partner, Daniel F. Goldstein, and Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, were selected to receive the American Bar Association’s 2011 Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights. This award is presented each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to further the rights, dignity, and access to justice for people with disabilities.
Through their combined leadership and advocacy over the course of more than 25 years, Dr. Maurer and Mr. Goldstein have revolutionized the world of technology and the ability of blind and low-vision individuals to access it.
ABA Commission on Mental & Physical Disability Law
Dan’s Acceptance Speech
Blind Students Sue Florida State University for Discrimination
With the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind, two blind students, Christopher Shane Toth and Jamie Ann Principato, filed suit against Florida State University and its board of trustees, alleging that FSU’s Department of Mathematics discriminated against Mr. Toth and Ms. Principato by failing to provide them with proper accommodations so that they could successfully complete required math courses for their respective degree programs. The plaintiffs are represented in this matter by Daniel F. Goldstein, Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum, and Brooke E. Lierman.
$2M Suit Blames School for Sexual Abuse
by Steve Lash
The parents of a Prince George’s County elementary school student filed a $2 million lawsuit against the school board, claiming administrators at the Robert Goddard Montessori School ignored their complaints that their son was being sexually harassed by a male classmate.
Voting Patterns of Court of Appeals Judges
by C. Christopher Brown
Chris Brown reviews the voting patterns of the Maryland Court of Appeals judges during the 2010 session.
Redskins Must Provide Song Lyrics at FedEx Field
In a victory for deaf sports fans, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed their right to equal access to aural content broadcast at the Washington Redskins’ FedEx Field, including lyrics to the music played during the game, upholding the groundbreaking 2008 ruling regarding the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Joseph B. Espo, the plaintiffs’
attorney, said he believes the 4th Circuit decision could have far-reaching effect.
City Sued Over Snow Removal Bill
by Danny Jacobs
Delmarva Group Corp., a Glen Burnie snow removal company, filed a $5.9 million lawsuit against Baltimore City seeking unpaid wages for its work during 2010′s historic snowstorms. The company had been trying unsuccessfully to get the money since last spring, when its bill was rejected as incomplete by the city’s Board of Estimates. Delmarva and 59 subcontractors worked more than 21,500 hours from Feb. 10 through Feb. 18 as the city was buried in almost 50 inches of snow, according to its lawsuit filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
Digital Technology Should Work for Everyone
by Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum
This article by Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum was published in the March/April 2011 edition of Educause Review, a publication that focuses on why IT matters to higher education. Sharon discusses the obstacles that blind students and faculty members (including those with other print disabilities) face in today’s high tech educational world. She suggests that educational policy-makers and technology experts have the power to equalize the landscape if they have the desire and commitment to do so.
Merck to Pay $555K to Fired Employee
A Baltimore jury has awarded $555,000 to a former Merck & Co. saleswoman who claimed she was fired two years ago in retaliation for reporting her supervisor’s violations of corporate policies.
Brown, Goldstein & Levy announced today a landmark victory on behalf of a blind law school graduate against the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), the administrator of a test virtually every law school graduate must take before getting a law license. NCBE refused to allow Stephanie Enyart, a blind 2009 UCLA Law School graduate, to use screen-reading computer software to take the “multistate” portion of the California bar exam. After she filed suit, a federal court in San Francisco issued an injunction in Stephanie’s favor, and NCBE appealed.
In a groundbreaking opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which hears federal appeals from much of the western United States, upheld Stephanie’s right under the Americans with Disabilities Act to use the assistive software. The ruling is significant not only for blind law school graduates, but for every test-taker with a disability who needs accommodations on a test. For additional information on the opinion, please go to Ninth Circuit Opinion.
Daniel F. Goldstein of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, was lead counsel for Stephanie.
To Assure Safe and Healthful Working Conditions
by Brooke E. Lierman
Brooke Lierman has published an article in The Loyola University New Orleans Journal of Public Interest Law Fall 2010 edition that argues for a new approach to enforcing the country’s occupational safety and health standards given the decline in labor unions, which were traditionally partners with the federal government in enforcing these rules. She argues that, as-implemented, the OSH Act relies on labor unions in specific ways to enable workers to file claims with OSHA and to ensure that violations are remedied. She provides guidance to policy-makers looking to tailor any potential amendments to existing OSHA laws on how to account for the decline of the help provided by unions in the educating workers about and helping them to enforce health and safety laws.
Dan Goldstein Wins Leadership in Law Award
Dan Goldstein was selected to receiveThe Daily Record‘s 2010 Leadership in Law award. The Daily Record began the Leadership in Law Awards in 2000 as a way to recognize the outstanding work being done by members of the legal community throughout Maryland.
ESPN Zone Workers File WARN Act Suit
by Brendan Kearney
Five Baltimore residents who lost their jobs when the downtown ESPN Zone closed in June filed suit against The Walt Disney Co. claiming a law governing plant closings (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) entitles each of them to 60 days’ pay in addition to the severance they received. The workers are represented by Andy Freeman.