Posts by: Ronald E. Lyons

To see articles written by our attorneys on a range of topics, just use the links to the right.
How To Tell If A Check Is Fake

As online shopping continues to grow, consumers are relying more than ever on issuing payment for those transactions remotely.  Despite the appeal and convenience, especially during a global pandemic, many transactions continue to be paid for with traditional checks, including  cashier checks.  The appeal of checks is due to the sense of security that the…READ MORE

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Managing New Overtime Rules

Groups of workers just became eligible for overtime pay following the adoption of new regulations by the Department of Labor.  It is estimated that 1.4 million additional workers will now be in line to receive overtime compensation. Effective as of January 1, 2020, the base salary level at which administrative, executive and professional employees can…READ MORE

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Creating Arbitration Agreements with Your Employees

Many employers routinely include mandatory arbitration agreements for resolving employment disputes with their employees. To the surprise of many employers, such clauses are often ruled invalid. To help assure that your agreement requiring arbitration of employment disputes is enforceable, be aware of the following factors: Consider using a separate, stand-alone agreement. Especially in the context of…READ MORE

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New Laws In Maryland For Estates And Trusts

There are two new laws in Maryland impacting estate planning and administration.  The first deals with what is known as the “spousal election”. Under Maryland law, a surviving spouse has the right to make an election to take a one-third share of their deceased spouse’s estate in lieu of what they were to receive under…READ MORE

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Telecommuting As An Accommodation

Consider the situation faced by an employer that does not, typically, allow employees to work remotely.  Then consider what happens when an employee with pregnancy related complications is instructed by her physician to go on bedrest for the remaining three months of her pregnancy.  Moreover, the employee lacks sufficient PTO to cover the anticipated leave….READ MORE

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Non-Compete And Non-Solicitation Agreements: Employer Beware

A recent case from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland underscored the growing trend by courts across the country to limit the application of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.   These agreements, typically referred to as “restrictive covenants”, are integral to many employment agreements. Restrictive covenants in employment contracts serve as a means of assuring the…READ MORE

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Own a business? You need a buy-sell agreement!

If you own a business, having a buy-sell agreement is a necessity.  Without it, a closely-held or family-owned business is in jeopardy in the event of the owner’s death, disability, retirement, divorce or bankruptcy, or if a dispute arises among the owners. A buy-sell agreement is a legally-binding contract among the owners addressing the terms…READ MORE

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Is a Temp Agency Employee also Your Employee?

Employers often look to temporary staffing agencies to fill pressing employment needs.  Historically, an employee hired this way has been considered to be solely an employee of the agency.  That may be changing, and if your business hires temps through an agency, you should be aware of this development. Last month a federal Circuit Court…READ MORE

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Required Updates to Your Partnership and Operating Agreements

Few of us still remember the acronym “TEFRA.”  It stands for the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982.  TEFRA focused on standardizing audit procedures and closing tax loopholes. It is back in the news. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (the “Act”), which was signed into law last November, repeals the TEFRA audit rules and…READ MORE

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What Happens to Your E-mail and Facebook® Accounts When You Die?

A growing issue involves what happens to our digital assets upon death. On a daily basis, we create vast quantities of “digital assets” in the form of text messages, as well as images such as photos and media. Common examples include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, websites, contact lists, Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, electronic books (such as Kindle),…READ MORE

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Big Issue, Short Take – March 2014

COMING SOON — MARYLAND ESTATE TAX RELIEF:   Last week, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law raising the estate tax exemption.  The Maryland estate tax exemption has been pegged at $1.0 million dollars for years.  With many other states having higher (or unlimited) exemptions, Maryland residents were incentivized to move out of State as…READ MORE

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Big Issues, Short Takes – September 2013

Unlike many other states, Maryland does not have a “dram shop” act that places liability on bars and restaurants for serving or continuing to serve intoxicated individuals. Recently, the Court determined that there is no relationship between a tavern and an injured third party as a result of the tavern’s serving alcohol to the drunk driver responsible…READ MORE

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The Potential Cost of Unpaid Summer Interns

Summer has turned into the season of the unpaid internship. Job-hungry students with little or no hope of a paid position agree to take their “compensation” in the form of practical job experience. It sounds too good to be true, and it probably is now that the Department of Labor (DOL) is focusing on the…READ MORE

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How Your Business Can Prevent Wage Discrimination Claims

Do you have a fair and well-thought-out policy for how your business sets employee compensation? It can go a long way towards preventing a claim for discrimination. A recent federal case arising out of Arkansas illustrates this point. Lakishia Hill was an employee for the City of Pine Bluff, working in its office of Inspection…READ MORE

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Who Owns the Premises When Determining Liability?

Can a mere real estate investor be liable for hazardous conditions in properties owned by others? That is not as clear as one might hope. A recent Maryland case sought to determine who the “owner” of an apartment was for purposes of assessing liability for an occupant’s exposure to lead paint. Many different parties were…READ MORE

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Recapitalizing Your Business to Maintain Control

A major challenge for closely held family businesses is how to transfer ownership to the next generation without losing control. For some closely held family businesses, the owner will take whatever steps are necessary to maintain control over his business even if it means a viable succession plan is not put into place. Relatively few…READ MORE

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When Does the Clock Start for Employees Working from Home?

In today’s varied work environment, more and more employees are performing some type of employment related service from home. This triggers issues to determine when the compensable portion of the work day begins. If an employee reviews his work e-mails or remotely logs on to the company network from home before leaving for the office,…READ MORE

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When a Guaranty Is Not a Personal Guaranty

A recent case from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals addressed the issue of whether the guaranty of a managing partner of a limited liability company triggered personal liability. In the case of Uduak J. Ubom v. SunTrust Bank, the Court focused on the nature of the signature by the managing partner of the LLC under…READ MORE

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Maryland “Healthy Retail Employee Act”

Effective March 1, 2011, the Maryland Healthy Retail Employee Act (“Act”) went into effect. The new law requires retailers to provide their employees with mandatory shift breaks depending upon the number of hours worked. The Act applies to employers engaged in a retail business or retail franchise having the same trade name with 50 or…READ MORE

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Year-End Estate Tax Planning

A full year ago, estate planning attorneys were assuring clients that Congress would never allow the federal estate tax to lapse. There was near universal belief that Congress would either implement a permanent “fix” by establishing an exemption in the range of $3.5 – $5 million or, at a minimum, extend the 2009 exemption of…READ MORE

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New Maryland General and Limited Power of Attorney Act

Powers of Attorney are an easy and relatively affordable tool for use by individuals with diminishing mental capacity and physical abilities. They offer a ready means for managing the assets of another person as well as the payment of the day to day expenses. The ease of use has, unfortunately, also led to abuse. Over…READ MORE

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Gifts of LLC Interest Not Qualifying for Annual Exclusion

The gift tax annual exclusion allows an individual to gift $13,000.00 (as indexed for 2010) to an unlimited number of donees each year without paying gift tax. In order to qualify for the annual exclusion, however, a gift must be of a “present interest” in accordance with IRC 2503(b). To qualify as a present interest…READ MORE

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Individual Member of LLC Subject to Personal Liability

Section 4A-301 of the Corporations and Associations Article provides that a member of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is not “personally liable for the obligations of the LLC, whether arising in contract, tort or otherwise, solely by reason of being a member of the LLC.” In what may prove to be a landmark decision, the…READ MORE

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New Legislation Targets Minority Contracting Fraud

Under a new Maryland law that went into effect last month, contractors that rely upon minority-owned companies in bids for the award of state construction projects but which fail to use such companies will be subject to felony charges. The new law, which went into effect as of October 1, 2009, provides for a maximum…READ MORE

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What Happens When You Die Without A Will?

There are two things you can count on – death and taxes! Both of these issues can be addressed in a Will. If you die without a Will, the assets of your estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy in the state of your domicile. In Maryland, distribution of assets owned by…READ MORE

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Year End Acquisitions for Year End Deductions

With all of the turmoil in our economy, it would be easy to just hunker down and tighten the belt. There are, however, some real economic incentives to purchase certain machinery and equipment that will substantially boost your 2008 deductions. Under the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 (the “Act”), there is a 50% bonus first…READ MORE

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