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California Court Upholds Mandatory Arbitration Provision in Construction Defect Cases
Failure to Maintain Roof is Affirmative Defense of Unit Owner’s Nonpayment of Assessments
Authority to Enter Bulk Cable Contract
Condominium Authority to Impose Fines
Court Weighs in on Maryland HOA Act Disclosure Requirements
Maryland Tax Court Sides with Foreclosure Sale Purchasers on Payment of IDOT Taxes
County Enacts Protections for Service Providers
School Facilities Payment Decrease Proposed
An Incentive for Affordable Housing? 
PAMR vs. TPAR: How much will it cost?
DC's 91 pages of Regulations and 550-page Stormwater Management Guidebook
DC Power Line Undergrounding Task Force
Condo Warranties and Accessibility Requirements: Limiting Liability
Breakfast with Robert Kronenberg, Acting Chief for Planning Area 1, Montgomery County
Ballard Spahr National Housing Symposium
Debbie Klis Joins Bethesda Office
Jon M. Laria Elected to Greater Baltimore Committee Board of Directors
Two Ballard Spahr Lawyers Named to Maryland's Top 100 Women
Chambers USA Names Ballard Spahr Leading Lawyers and Practices for 2012 
Roger Winston Named a Top 100 D.C. and Top 100 Maryland Lawyer and Nominated to be
Roger Winston Interviewed by Voice of America
Washington, D.C., Office Named 2012 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year
Ballard Spahr Moves Washington, D.C., Office to Millennium Building

NATIONAL

California Court Upholds Mandatory Arbitration Provision in Construction Defect Cases
Pinnacle Museum Tower Association v. Pinnacle Market Development

The California Supreme Court held that in a construction defect dispute between a condominium owners association and a developer, the parties are bound to the mandatory arbitration provision in the recorded declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions, even though the association did not “agree” to that provision because the association did not exist when the declaration was recorded.

In the Pinnacle case, the association filed suit against the developer seeking recovery for damages related to construction defects. The developer then filed a motion to compel arbitration in accordance with the declaration provision requiring construction disputes with the developer to be resolved through binding arbitration. Both the trial and appellate courts held that the arbitration requirement was unconscionable. The California Supreme Court reversed, upholding the mandatory arbitration provision.

As is typically the case in the formation of condominium projects, the developer drafted and recorded the declaration setting forth the terms and conditions upon which the condominium project would be governed. Because no units had been sold before recordation of the declaration (nor could they have been under law), the association did not comprise any owners other than the developer at the time. Nonetheless, the high court stated that once the first buyer accepted the declaration by purchasing a unit, all terms of the declaration—unless unreasonable—became enforceable even though the association did not bargain with the developer on those terms. The court found that the arbitration provision was not unconscionable in part because it was not overly harsh or one-sided.

In the initial stages of project formation, the developer must consider how construction defect and related claims will be managed. Arbitration clauses are not uncommon and can be a useful tool to resolve claims more efficiently through less formal procedures and to control damages by preventing cases from being heard by a jury. Resolving a matter through arbitration can be helpful where the plaintiff seeks non-economic damages (pain and suffering, inconvenience, claims of mental damage, etc.), which, under the right circumstances, a jury may be more likely to award. We are available to work with you to help determine whether and what type of arbitration provisions are appropriate for your project.

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Failure to Maintain Roof is Affirmative Defense of Unit Owner’s Nonpayment of Assessments
Spanish Court Two Condominium Association v. Carlson

An Illinois appeals court ruled that a unit owner could cite the condominium association’s failure to maintain common elements as an affirmative defense against the association’s suit for nonpayment of assessments under Illinois’ Forcible Entry and Detainer Act (the Act). The law permits associations to acquire temporary possession of units and rent them out to pay the owner’s delinquency.

In this case, the association sought possession of a unit because the unit owner was delinquent in paying assessments. The unit owner counterclaimed that the association had failed to maintain the roof (common element) above her unit. She claimed that such failure constituted a breach of the association’s obligation to maintain common elements under the declaration. The association argued that its right to collect assessments is an absolute right not subject to such affirmative defense.

However, the court stated that neither the Illinois Condominium Act nor the Act supported the association’s contention. Rather, the court found that the exchanges of promises (with the unit owner promising to pay assessments and the association promising to maintain common elements) is akin to a landlord-tenant relationship, and as a result, the unit owner could cite the association's failure to maintain common elements as a defense.

Generally, courts have held that unit owner assessment obligations and association maintenance obligations are independent of each other. However, this case blurs that line. Although this case arises in the context of a state statute, it is important to be aware of judicial decisions and document provisions that could threaten an association’s authority to collect assessments.

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Authority to Enter Bulk Cable Contract
River Park House Owners Association v. Crumley
A Pennsylvania appellate court held that a condominium association exceeded its authority by entering a bulk service contract with a cable provider because the association’s governing documents did not define the cost as a legitimate common expense.

In this case, the association contracted with a cable company to provide service to all units. The association held meetings to consider the contract’s financial benefits and concluded that the cost of the bulk service arrangement was substantially lower than the per-unit cost if arranged by each owner. After the association entered the bulk service contract, all unit owners were charged an additional monthly assessment of $43.95 for cable.

One unit owner refused to pay, stating that cable service was a luxury and did not enhance his unit’s value. The trial court found that the association acted in good faith when considering and entering the contract, but that the cost of cable service was not a common expense as defined in the association’s governing documents. The appellate court agreed. Although the statutory definition of “common expenses” would have included costs associated with the bulk cable agreement, the association’s bylaws included a narrower definition of the term.

We have worked with a number of associations on cable and telecommunications contracts, including bulk arrangements, easements and other service agreements. Such agreements can provide significant benefits to the association and to the unit owners, but it is important that such arrangements are properly authorized by the governing documents or by statute.

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VIRGINIA

Condominium Authority to Impose Fines
Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority v. Shadowood Condominium Association

The Virginia Circuit Court held that a condominium association exceeded its authority when it attempted to fine unit owners for failure to submit certain paperwork and for rule violations.

After reviewing the association’s governing documents, the court found that the association had the authority to assess and collect funds only for the maintenance, repair, replacement or improvement of the complex’s general common elements. Noting that a condominium association’s authority is derived from the terms of its governing documents, and finding nothing in the documents authorizing the imposition of fines, the court held that the association had no authority to do so.

To enforce the terms of their governing documents, many associations are expressly authorized in their documents to impose fines for violations of association rules. However, such actions must be consistent with the governing documents and with applicable law. Please contact us if you have any questions about the enforcement authority outlined in your association documents.

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MARYLAND

Court Weighs in on Maryland HOA Act Disclosure Requirements
Lipitz v. Hurwitz

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has ruled that the seller of real property within a state homeowners association is required to provide statutory disclosures to a buyer under the Maryland Homeowners Association Act, even if the buyer already owns property within the same association and expressly waives the right to such disclosures. See Md. Code Ann. Real Prop. Sections 11B-101 . (1974, 2012 Repl. Vol.).

In Lipitz v. Hurwitz, the buyer agreed to purchase a home located within the Caves Valley Golf Club development in Owings Mills, which is governed by a homeowners association. The buyer already owned two other homes in the same association and expressly declined receipt of certain disclosure materials. The seller did not deliver the required HOA disclosure materials to the buyer during execution of the contract, and on the day before the scheduled settlement date, the buyer informed the seller that he was canceling the contract because the required statutory information had not been provided.

Section 11B-106(a) of the law provides that a “contract for the resale of a lot within a development … to a member of the public who intends to occupy or rent the lot for residential purposes, is not enforceable by the vendor” unless the vendor discloses certain information to the prospective purchaser (emphasis added). In this case, the seller argued that the buyer was not a “member of the public” because he already owned property within the association and already had or could obtain the required information. Therefore, the seller said, the buyer was not entitled to the disclosure materials.

The court disagreed, finding that although the law did not define “member of the public,” the buyer was entitled to receive the disclosures. The court also cited legislative history, including a letter to the state House Judiciary Committee from Roger D. Winston, then-Chair of the Subcommittee on Homeowners Associations of the Governor’s Commission of Condominiums, Cooperatives and Homeowners Associations. The letter urged the Committee to revise the then-pending legislation so that the phrase “member of the public” would be replaced with “member of the public who intends to occupy or rent the lot for residential purposes.”

Such change was made to Section 11B-106(a), and the court found that the purpose for a buyer’s acquisition of property, not the buyer’s identity, is the key factor in determining the application of disclosure requirements. Because the buyer in this case intended to use the property for residential purposes, he was entitled to a separate disclosure for the new transaction, even if he was already an association member.

The ruling makes clear the law’s consumer protection purposes and that a purchaser may not waive the disclosure requirements. In this case, as with other contract disputes arising during the recent economic downturn, the court upheld a purchaser’s right to rescind a contract based on the seller’s failure to comply with statutory obligations that cannot be waived. In addition, although this case involved the Maryland Homeowners Association Act, it is worth noting that similar seller disclosure requirements apply to condominium sales. It is important for sellers to make the required disclosures to purchasers and document that the purchaser has received them.

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Maryland Tax Court Sides with Foreclosure Sale Purchasers on Payment of IDOT Taxes

The Maryland Tax Court on August 28, 2012, handed down a decision that addressed a concern of many foreclosing lenders: Must a foreclosure sale purchaser pay recordation taxes on a defaulted Indemnity Deed of Trust (IDOT) as well as those due on a substitute trustees’ deed? This decision could affect the thousands of IDOTs recorded in Maryland before July 1, 2012, when counties did not collect recordation taxes on IDOTs.

In an IDOT loan transaction, the borrower issues a promissory note to the lender but does not own the real property securing the loan. A guarantor gives the lender a guaranty of the borrower’s obligations and secures the guaranty (not the note itself) by an IDOT. The IDOT secures only the guarantor’s liability, which is only secondary and is conditioned on, typically, the borrower’s default under the note or another loan document. Until July 1, 2012, the rule was that when the IDOT is recorded, the debt that it secures has not been “incurred” by the guarantor, and, therefore, no recordation tax was due until the borrower defaulted.

When defaults on loans secured by IDOTs became more common during the recession, some local jurisdictions in Maryland asserted that the unpaid recordation tax due on the IDOT created a lien on the property, and that a purchaser at a foreclosure sale was required to pay both the unpaid recordation tax on the IDOT and recordation and transfer taxes on the substitute trustees’ deed following a foreclosure sale.

The Tax Court has now held that in IDOT transactions, although recordation taxes are typically due when the borrower defaults, only the guarantor is liable for such taxes. The Tax Court held that the unpaid recordation taxes due on the IDOT do not create a lien on the underlying property. No statutory or legal authority provides that any other party, including the purchaser at a foreclosure sale, must pay the recordation taxes due on the IDOT. Thus, the Tax Court held that after foreclosure, the purchaser need only pay recordation taxes on the consideration paid according to the substitute trustees’ deed.

In this case, because the Howard County Department of Finance collected recordation taxes on both the original amount secured by the IDOT and the consideration set forth in the substitute trustees’ deed, the Tax Court required the County to refund the recordation tax paid on the foreclosed IDOT to the lender.

As we reported in a legal alert in March, effective July 1, 2012, recordation taxes must be paid on IDOTs securing loans of $1 million or more. Although the Tax Court opinion is a victory for foreclosing lenders, the decision is subject to review. The opinion can be appealed to the Circuit Court.

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY

County Enacts Protections for Service Providers

Following contentious discussions, the Montgomery County Council voted 5-4 on September 18, 2012, to pass legislation to require that when service company contractors change, the new contractor must offer to keep the previous contractor’s employees on the job for three months. The five sponsors of Bill 19-12, Council Vice-President Nancy Navarro and Councilmembers Valerie Ervin, Craig Rice, Marc EIrich, and Hans Riemer, maintained that the bill would protect  low-wage service workers and perpetuate "the promise of opportunity inherent to the American way of life." The bill’s opponents, Council President Roger Berliner and Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Nancy Floreen and George Leventhal, affirmed their support of unions and the right to organize, but said they believed the bill is an over-regulation of business management practices.

The new legislation, which will take effect 90 days after the County Executive signs it, requires that successor service contractors who employ more than 20 service employees under a single service contract offer to retain existing employees (defined as building service employees, food service workers and non-professional health care service workers) for a temporary 90-day transition period, without regulating wages or benefits during such transition period. Under current law, a successor service contractor has no obligation to retain incumbent service employees. Bill 19-12 would affect contracts covering service employees working in private schools, hospitals and nursing care facilities. It also would apply to contracts covering service employees working in multi-family residential properties with more than 30 units (other than condominiums, homeowners associations and cooperatives), commercial buildings occupying more than 75,000 square feet, private schools, hospitals nursing care facilities, and institutions such as museums, convention centers, arenas, airports and music halls.

Supporter of the bill say it will provide a degree of protection from sudden unemployment to low-wage service workers by providing notice and a transition period to those workers, who would otherwise experience sudden unemployment when their employers’ service contracts are terminated.

Under the bill, at least 15 days before terminating a service contract, the facility or institution must: 

    • Request that the outgoing contractor give the successor contractor a complete list of existing service employees
    • Provide the list of employees to the new contractor
    • Notify any collective bargaining representative of the pending termination
    • Ensure posting of written notice of the pending termination at the work site

New service contractors must make a written offer to each affected service employee for a 90-day transition period and give the employees at least 10 days to accept it. The bill includes limited exceptions that permit a successor contractor to avoid offering temporary employment to certain service employees.

Once the law is enacted, it will be enforced by the Office of Human Rights and the Human Rights Commission (rather than the Equal Opportunity Office).

Similar legislation is in effect in many U.S. states and municipalities – including Washington, D.C., which has many of the same cleaning contractors as Maryland. The bill’s sponsors maintain that the new law will not harm the office real estate market.

To read the final version of Bill 19-12, click here.

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School Facilities Payment Decrease Proposed

On July 31, 2012, the Planning Board presented a resolution to the Montgomery County Council to reduce the school facilities payment by more than $4,000 per middle school and high school student. The school facilities payment is imposed on new residential units when school enrollment reaches 105 percent to 119 percent of capacity, and the developer must pay it in addition to the school impact tax. The new development is then taxed on 60 percent of the construction cost per student, which currently ranges from $19,514 per elementary school student to $28,501 per high school student.

The proposed reduction is based on construction costs having decreased during the past three years. A public hearing on this resolution was scheduled for September 18, 2012, in conjunction with the public hearing on the 2012-2016 Subdivision Staging Policy. While the Council can vote to make this effective immediately after the public hearing, the resolution will be combined with the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee's work sessions on the Subdivision Staging Policy, beginning September 24.

Ballard Spahr continues to monitor the resolution’s status. Please contact us if you would like to discuss it further. To view the resolution, click here.

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An Incentive for Affordable Housing?

Under Montgomery County's Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU) law, all new apartment and subdivision developments with 20 or more units must designate between 12.5 percent and 15 percent of those units as "affordable housing," placing for-sale units under a 30-year control period and rental units under a 99-year control period.

The program, however, has produced few units in the past five years as little new residential construction occurred during the recession. Councilmember Nancy Floreen, noting that "we're putting a lot of public money into subsidizing affordable housing," introduced legislation late last year with Councilmembers Craig Rice and Nancy Navarro to create an incentive to double the number of affordable units in new developments. Bill 39-11 would exempt from the transportation and school development impact taxes the market-rate units in any development with at least 25 percent affordable housing units.

Several developers indicated that the credit offers them insufficient incentive to build to the required 25 percent MPDUs in high-rise rental projects. Bill 39-11 may be assigned to a work session later this year as the PHED Committee will be working on the County's Housing Policy in October. The County Executive does not support Bill 39-11 and has indicated that he would likely veto it if it is passed. Ballard Spahr continues to monitor the bill’s status, but please contact us if you would like to further discuss its implications.

For a copy of Bill 39-11, please click here.

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 PAMR vs. TPAR: How much will it cost?

The County Planning Board has proposed a new transportation methodology in response to concerns over the impact of the Policy Area Mobility Review (PAMR), the existing Subdivision Staging Policy strategy for measuring transportation capacity. The proposed new methodology, Transportation Policy Area Review (TPAR), is designed to "provide increased assurance that transportation improvements that form the basis for approval of new development actually take place."

The new 2012 Subdivision Staging Policy TPAR test identifies specific road and/or transit improvements that the County must provide to implement its Master Plans. It also creates a “trigger” to enable transportation spending in areas where growth is projected. Any monies collected under TPAR will be used to partially fund the projects.

Unlike PAMR, TPAR will impose on all developments a per-trip fee, regardless of an area's traffic capacity, similar to the "pay-and-go" mechanism in place in the last decade. Currently, under PAMR, developers pay an $11,400 fee to mitigate trips if the policy area is over capacity. The TPAR fee suggested by the Planning Board is $600 to $12,000 per trip, with the actual fee being the cost of the County improvements within each Planning Area (split 50/50 between the public and private sectors) divided by the number of trips from the policy area.

The benefit, or lack thereof, of TPAR will depend on the location of the development project. For properties that would otherwise require mitigation, TPAR could represent a less expensive option. However, for properties in policy areas that do not currently require mitigation, TPAR would represent an additional expense. As TPAR goes through Council revisions, the payment parameters may change and require additional analysis. However, in moving back toward a pay-and-go model, moratoriums are eliminated and the County may be able to collect enough revenue to fund overdue projects.

The Council held its public hearing on September 18, which will be followed by work sessions on September 24, October 8 and October 15. The Council is required to approve its Staging Policy by November 15, 2012.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.

DC's 91 pages of Regulations and 550-page Stormwater Management Guidebook

DC Department of the Environment's wetlands regulations, proposed in late summer, seek to comprehensively amend the stormwater regulations and soil erosion and sediment control regulations in Chapter 5 (Water Quality and Pollution) of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR). These proposed regulations intend to "preserve, protect, restore, enhance, and maintain the natural integrity of wetlands and adjacent land" and insure "no net loss" of wetlands, of which only approximately 250 acres remain.

The initial review of the regulations has generated several concerns about issues such as the reliance on inaccurate and outdated data (creating great uncertainty over the extent of wetlands and the permitting obligations), and  the lack of coordinated processing of DDOE and Corps of Engineers' permit applications (which will result in costly duplication of effort). Further, because the regulations require that a Corps permit be obtained first, major project delays and conflicts are likely, while the level of detail and the scope of requirements are excessive in comparison to neighboring jurisdictions. Initial estimates calculate that the cost of mitigation will exceed $340,000 per acre, not including the cost of land acquisition (compared with $50,000 to $60,000 per acre cost in neighboring jurisdictions). There are no definitions for "reasonably obtained" alternative development sites, "sensitive wetlands" and "high value wetlands." The regulations contain no provisions to incentivize wetlands mitigation banking and consolidated mitigation projects, or to coordinate with the stormwater retention credit trading program currently being considered. Nor do they provide clear deadlines for acceptance, review, comment and/or authorization by DDOE. 

DDOE is accepting comments for 90 days through November 8, 2012, and is holding training sessions in October. DDOE intends for these amendments to take effect six months after their final publication in the D.C. Register or on July 22, 2013, whichever occurs first.

Ballard Spahr continues to monitor the status of the regulations, but please contact us if you would like to further discuss their implications. For a copy of regulations (91 pages) , please click here. For a copy of the guidebook (500 pages), which provides technical guidance on complying with the requirements in the Proposed Rulemaking, please click here.

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DC Power Line Undergrounding Task Force

Mayor Vincent C. Gray's Power Line Undergrounding Task Force began the process of studying the feasibility of burying electrical wires to lessen the impact of severe weather on the District’s power grid. At its first session in August, the 15-member panel, consisting of utility industry executives, regulators, government officials and two residents of neighborhoods often affected by power outages, heard from Pepco on its response to recent storms.

The Public Service Commission also provided details of its ongoing public survey of residents and businesses on the desire for and the willingness to pay for possible solutions to prevent storm damage. The Commission also shared the conclusions from its own study: undergrounding for all existing circuits was too expensive ($5.1 billion) and least cost-effective as most outages were directly linked to a select number of overhead feeders.

Rather, the Commission should consider undergrounding in specific situations, such as combining undergrounding with road expansion efforts in specific geographic sections of the District, or neighborhood projects in which the electric distribution undergrounding could be completed as part of a greater effort involving roadway reconstruction or large-scale water and sewer replacement. By bundling infrastructure investment in this manner, there may be sufficient benefits to justify the level of undergrounding investment.

Concerns from the regulated community are increasing as the Task Force evaluates how much may be required of new redevelopment. The Task Force is scheduled to meet throughout the fall and is tasked with transmitting to the mayor a written report of findings and recommendations by January 31, 2013. Ballard Spahr continues to monitor the status of regulations, but please contact us if you would like to further discuss their implications.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Breakfast with Robert Kronenberg, Acting Chief for Planning Area 1, Montgomery County Planning Department
Friday, October 26, 2012, 7:30 a.m.
As Acting Chief for Planning Area 1, Mr. Kronenberg oversees development activities in Montgomery County south of the Beltway, north of the D.C. line, and east of the Potomac River. He will provide perspective on the approved developments for that area, as well as the Subdivision Staging Policy, Transportation Policy Area Review and Policy Area Mobility Review. Please join us for breakfast discussions with Mr. Kronenberg regarding these and other Area 1 concerns you may have. An invitation will arrive in your in-box soon.

Ballard Spahr National Housing Symposium
Friday, November 9, 2012, 8:30 a.m.
Join us for Ballard Spahr’s Seventh Annual National Housing Symposium on affordable-housing developments. As always, the symposium will be informative and lively. Our speakers—industry leaders and innovators from across the country—will offer their perspectives on the impact of the election and discuss recent developments in the affordable-housing market. The symposium will be invaluable for developers, investors, syndicators, lenders and representatives of governmental agencies. For more information and to register, please click here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Debbie Klis Joins Bethesda Office
Ballard Spahr is excited to announce that Debbie Klis has joined its Bethesda office as of counsel in the Business and Finance Department. Ms. Klis brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the firm and the Bethesda office. Her practice focuses on federal tax and securities law and involves transactional matters across an array of business, securities and tax issues in connection with representing corporations, investment banks and multinational financial institutions, funds, investment advisers, municipalities, investment companies and banks. On the real estate side, Ms. Klis structures and forms real estate syndications and real estate funds for an array of investment regimes, including use of alternative financing sources such as EB-5 investor funds. Ms. Klis also represents equity sponsors, their portfolio companies and both registered and unregistered funds in connection with issues under the Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934, the Investment Adviser Act (including new form ADV and implementation of Dodd-Frank changes), the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Commodity Futures Act. Ms. Klis can be reached at 301.664.6211 or klisd@ballardspahr.com.

Jon M. Laria Elected to Greater Baltimore Committee Board of Directors
Jon M. Laria, Managing Partner of Ballard Spahr’s Baltimore office, was elected to the Greater Baltimore Committee Board of Directors. The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) is composed of more than 500 businesses, nonprofit organizations, and educational and civic institutions. The GBC brings together corporate and civic leaders to identify and nurture business development opportunities, and strengthen the region’s business, transportation, education, health care and technology resources.

Two Ballard Spahr Lawyers Named to Maryland's Top 100 Women
Lila G. Shapiro-Cyr and Erica Leatham were named among 2012's Top 100 Women in Maryland by The Daily Record in recognition of "high-achieving Maryland women who are making an impact through their leadership, community service and mentoring.”

Chambers USA Names Ballard Spahr Leading Lawyers and Practices for 2012
Ballard Spahr has 82 leading attorneys and 23 leading practices in this year's Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business rankings. In Maryland, five real estate attorneys are listed as leading attorneys, including Morton P. Fisher, Jon M. Laria, Mark Pollak, Raymond G. Truitt and Roger D. Winston. In the state categories, two practices received the highest band ranking: Real Estate, Maryland; and Real Estate, Pennsylvania.

Roger Winston Named a Top 100 D.C. and Top 100 Maryland Lawyer and Nominated to be Secretary to the American College of Real Estate Lawyers
Roger D. Winston, Managing Partner of Ballard Spahr’s Bethesda office, was selected as one of the top 100 lawyers by Super Lawyers in both D.C. and Maryland. Roger was recently nominated to become Secretary of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers beginning in 2013. ACREL is the country’s most prestigious honorary organization for practicing real estate lawyers.

Roger Winston Interviewed by Voice of America
Roger D. Winston was recently interviewed by Voice of America for a program broadcast in China. The program involved a condominium project that was confronting a convicted drug dealer who owned a unit and regularly engaged in drug deals at the project. Similar to the famous Trevon Martin case, the legal issues involve questions of how proactive the condominium could be in preventing a drug dealer from doing business in the community. A clip of the interview can be found by clicking here (but you will need to speak Mandarin!).

Washington, D.C., Office Named 2012 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year
Ballard Spahr’s Washington, D.C., office has been named 2012 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year by the District of Columbia Bar. The award recognizes outstanding pro bono work and services provided to the poor and disadvantaged in the District.

Ballard Spahr Moves Washington, D.C., Office to Millennium Building
Ballard Spahr has moved its Washington, D.C., office to the Millennium Building, the city’s first commercial office building to receive LEED-EB certification. All telephone and fax numbers will remain the same. The new address is:

Ballard Spahr LLP
1909 K Street, NW
12th Floor
Washington, DC 20006-1157

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Copyright © 2012 by Ballard Spahr LLP.
www.ballardspahr.com
(No claim to original U.S. government material.)

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author and publisher.

This alert is a periodic publication of Ballard Spahr LLP and is intended to notify recipients of new developments in the law. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.