Latest Updates from BCBA

Administrative Order Requiring Face Coverings in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County

April 20, 2020

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2020-41

REQUIRING FACE COVERINGS IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR BALTIMORE COUNTY

CLICK HERE to read the order.

Maryland Courts Closed Through June 5, 2020

April 14, 2020

Today, April 14th, the Court of Appeals of Maryland issued a Second Amended Administrative Order Expanding and Extending Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency.  Courts will remain closed through June 5.

Updates & Lawyers Assistance

April 14, 2020

Updates

  1. Click to register for Working Remotely in the Law & Video-Communications During the Time of COVID-19 & Beyond.  We will be hosting this free event online on Monday, April 20, 11:00 a.m.  Registration is required.
  2. The BCBA, through donations from its members, donated 40 meals from CVP Towson to healthcare providers at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.  If you are interested in donating to next week’s meal delivery to local healthcare workers, contact Rachel Ruocco at rruocco@bcba.org.
  3. BCBA Bingo – a free, virtual bingo event is in the works for any BCBA member (or their family).  Bingo cards will be distributed electronically and numbers will be called using Skype for Business.  Gift certificates purchased from local Baltimore County restaurants and businesses will be awarded to the winners.  If you are interested in participating, email Michael.W.Siri@gmail.com.

Mental Health During COVID-19

Many of our members feel nervous and concerned about COVID-19.  Fear and anxiety about the disease, its effect on your health or the health of a loved one, and the ramifications on your career take both an emotional and physical toll.  Additionally, the effects are exacerbated in this new world of social distancing, telecommuting, and self-isolation.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, the Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) can help.  Free and confidential support is available for a broad range of personal issues.  The BCBA works with the Maryland State Bar Association to assist with providing access to treatment facilities, provide emergency practice management, referrals to professional counselors, and direction to information to assist any lawyer in Maryland.  The following volunteers are ready and willing to aid and support:
Jay Miller – JMiller@lawpga.com;
Gary Miles – gary@lawhjm.com
Joseph Murtha – jmurtha@mpllawyers.com;
Jose Molina – jamolinalaw@gmail.com;
Karen Pilarski – karenapilarski@gmail.com;
Richard Lynas – lynas.richard@yahoo.com;
Marissa Joelson – MJoelson@lawpga.com;
Mary Chalawsky – chalawskylaw@gmail.com;
Stuart Axilbund – saxilbund@axilbund.com;
Sam Moxley – smoxley@baltimorecountymd.gov;
William Kerr – wlawkerr@verizon.net;
Bill Saltysiak – wsaltysiak@gmail.com

You may also call 1-888-388-5459

Additionally, several articles and resources are available through the MSBA (www.msba.org/covid-19/wellness), including weekly support groups, tips to manage anxiety, and workout videos to alleviate stress.  You do not need to be a member of the BCBA or MSBA to use any of the services provided by the Lawyers Assistance Program.  Any lawyer in Maryland has access.
During these difficult times, please remember that you are not alone.  The BCBA is here for your both professionally and personally.  We will get through this… together.

Current Operations of the Baltimore County Circuit and District Courts

April 10, 2020

Circuit Court for Baltimore County Update

Approximately 15 clerks in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County’s Clerk’s Office are performing their duties remotely, leaving approximately 25 clerks working daily at the courthouse.  As a result, some telephone calls are not immediately addressed because of the decrease of onsite clerks.  To better respond to inquiries from attorneys and parties, the Circuit Court for Baltimore County has established group email addresses for specific departments, including Assignment, Civil, Criminal, Family, Juvenile, and Records.  A clerk will be devoted to monitoring all incoming emails to reply and provide any necessary assistance.

The group email addresses are as follows:

The first-floor front lobby of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County contains two drop boxes – one for Land Records and one for the Clerk’s office.  The drop boxes are checked twice a day for delivery to the appropriate department.

Finally, a public access computer from Land Records may be accessed at the corner Information Desk on the first-floor front lobby of the Circuit Courthouse.  Printing of any documents requires a HECON key.  If an individual does not have an issued HECON key but wishes to print documents, contact the Land Records Copy Center at 410-887-2657 to obtain a temporary HECON key.  The individual must surrender their Driver’s License until payment for the documents have been made.

Maryland Judiciary Using Skype for Business

As previously reported, the Maryland Judiciary approved the use of Skype for Business for video conferencing.  To perform video conferencing, the participant must download the Skype for Business app on their mobile device or install Skype for Business on their computer.  Further, the computer must be equipped with a camera and microphone.  In the event a participant does not have access to a mobile device with app capabilities or a camera-enabled computer, a call-in number from Skype for Business may be provided.

Uncontested Divorces Where Both Parties Are Represented

Uncontested divorce proceedings, where both parties are represented by counsel, are being handled by the Family Law Magistrates.  The cases are being scheduled; however, counsel for parties in an uncontested divorce may call to expedite the scheduling of the cases.

Remote Appearance by Attorneys for Bail Reviews

Attorneys wishing to appear telephonically or by video conferencing for bail reviews in District and Circuit Courts of Baltimore County should contact the respective Clerk’s Office as early as practically possible to coordinate the remote appearance.

Meal Delivery to Greater Baltimore Medical Center

Forty individually packaged meals, donated by the BCBA, will be delivered to the healthcare workers at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), as they treat members of our community affected by COVID-19.  The BCBA coordinated with Charles Village Pub & Patio Towson to deliver the meals.  Thank you to our BCBA members for their generous donations and making this meal delivery possible.  Please contact the Bar Association office at 410-337-9103 or rruocco@bcba.org if you are interested in being a part of our next meal delivery.

Additional Employment Law Resource

The Women’s Law Center of Maryland has expanded its employment law hotline for the underserved community affected by the CORVID-19 pandemic to the following:
1-877-422-9500
Every Tuesday and Friday, 9:30am-1pm
First Thursday of every month, 5pm-7:30pm

COVID-19 Updates & Available Technology

April 7, 2020
  1. Baltimore County Bar Association created the following webpage to better organize updates, closures, and resources related to COVID-19 and the Maryland Judiciary.
  2. Administrative Orders have been issued for the following Counties:
    1. Baltimore City
    2. Carroll County
    3. Montgomery County
    4. Prince George’s County
  3. The BCBA is coordinating a supply donation drive with local hospitals for items needed to protect front line medical workers.  We are looking for hand sanitizer, masks, and cleaning/antibacterial wipes to donate.  Please contact Rachel Ruocco at rruoco@bcba.org to coordinate delivery or pick-up.  We are also coordinating the delivery of meals and coffee to local hospitals and will provide additional information if you are interested in participating or donating.
  4. Civil legal aid organizations continue to provide remote assistance to low-income litigants.  The Women’s Law Center of Maryland’s Family Law Hotline (1-800-845-8550) and Emergency Law Hotline (1-877-422-9500) remains open to provide free legal advice, referrals, and information.  More information can be found at the MSBA’s Access to Justice Covid-19 resources page

Technology

New technology allows our staff and members to effectively and efficiently communicate while maintaining social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 crisis.  In order to better serve our members, the following are websites on the basic of video conferencing.  Additionally, through individual BCBA members and the BCBA Technology Committee, if you need assistance, individualized training on specific programs will be provided.  Please simply ask for assistance and we will coordinate a telephone call.

 Video Conference Calls

  • Zoom –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMUxzrgZvZQ
    • BCBA Secretary Stanford G. Gann, Jr. (sgannjr@levingann.com) is a prolific user of Zoom and is available for any questions on using Zoom.  Mr. Gann provided the following to related to Zoom:
      • Zoom is very intuitive.  If you are invited to join a Zoom meeting via e-mail and have never used Zoom before, simply click on the link and follow the minimal steps to install and accept the program.  Then, you are all set for that invited meeting and future meetings with anyone.  Some invitations include a required password.  If you wish to schedule a meeting and set up an instant meeting, you can require a password or simply allow access without a password.  Once Zoom is installed, the home program is a window with 4 options – New Meeting, Join, Schedule [a meeting] and Share screen.  At the bottom left of a meeting box, you can mute and unmute yourself and turn video on and off, presuming you have a webcam either imbedded in your computer or as an attachment to your computer.  Zoom also works well on smart cellphones.  The program allows you to kick the tires, to try things out and to play with it without worrying that you will mess anything up or be locked out.
  • Skype for Business – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNYQcHVgwlM
    • Maryland Judiciary-issued computers and hardware include Skype for Business, which can be used for remote access of a party during the COVID-19 crisis.  Additionally, Skype for Business recently created a “Meet Now” function to allow for conference calls with multiple participants.
  • Google Hangouts – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfZ1Wyltxjo
    • Similar to Zoom, Google Hangout allows participants to message, have video calls, and phone calls right from your computer or mobile device.

Depositions

Through BCBA sponsor Planet Depos, members can take advantage of remote depositions.  The witness and attorneys can connect via laptop or mobile device.  A Planet Depos technician will monitor the connection during the entire deposition to ensure a smooth, continuous link between the parties.  Additional information on remote depositions is available here.

Planet Depos is offering FREE Live Webinars of their Remote Deposition platform and processes.

The video will show you:
How exhibits work
How to control the screen
Recording options
Tips on how to ensure a smooth experience
Role of PD’s “white glove” technician
And any further questions you may have

It’s time to embrace this technology. This is our new reality for the near future.

Sign up to attend at the links below:
Tuesday April 7th @ 4pm:  Register here
Wednesday April 8th @ 11am: Register here
Thursday April 9th @3pm: Register here
Friday April 10th @ 11am: Register here

April 6, 2020

Chief Judge Barbera issued three Administrative Orders on Friday, April 3.  The Administrative Orders extend Statute of Limitations for cases during the Court’s closing, as well as statutory and rules deadlines, and allowing remote filings for non-MDEC counties.

All Orders can be found online at: https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusorders.

Court Updates & Bench/Bar Meeting Updates

April 6, 2020

Court Updates

  • The Maryland Judiciary issued the following Statement on Matters Concerning Children & Families, which clarifies that all courts orders for a child’s custody, parenting time, and child support are still in effect.
  • The District Court for Maryland for Baltimore County has stayed all evictions for non-residential premises during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • The Catonsville Courthouse for the District Court for Baltimore County (also referred to as “Old Catonsville”), located at 900 Walker Avenue, has been closed during the COVID-19 emergency.  The Towson Courthouse, temporarily located at 1 Rolling Cross Road in Catonsville, and the Essex Courthouse, located at 8914 Kelso Drive in Essex, remain open.

Bench/Bar Committee Meeting on April 2, 2020
On April 2, 2020, the Bench/Bar Committee of the Baltimore County Bar Association held a meeting with reports from the Circuit Court of Baltimore County, District Court for Baltimore County, and the BCBA.  The following are topics of interest for our members.

Discovery Deadlines
Several BCBA members expressed concern related to cases in which discovery closing during the COVID-19 emergency.  The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, as well as other jurisdictions in Maryland, have and will continue to consider any extension of a current scheduling order upon filing of a written motion.  The requests will be considered in light of the current circumstances.

Remote Settlement Conferences
The Circuit Court for Baltimore County intends to conduct remote settlement conferences in cases involving counsel for civil and family law cases during the COVID-19 emergency, when feasible and upon the development of a procedure for the parties and settlement judge.  Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Mental Health Docket
The District Court for Baltimore County’s Mental Health Docket shall be performed remotely to protect the health and safety of all participants.

Rescheduling of Cases
Per the Maryland Judiciary’s March 25, 2020 Administrative Order, all Maryland Courts shall remain restricted to emergency operations through May 1, 2020.  The rescheduling of cases remains fluid and dependent on the reopening of the Circuit and District Courts.  The Circuit Court intends to reset cases closer to the date of reopening; however, it will continue to remain in compliance with CDC guidelines on gatherings.  As such, this may affect the timing of jury trials.  Upon reopening, the District Court for Baltimore County anticipates initially clearing its backlog of domestic violence protective order matters, criminal cases, and landlord-tenant docket.

Current Operations of the Circuit Court and District Court for Baltimore County
The Circuit and District Court of Baltimore County continue to operate with essential personnel, including judges.  Click on the following link Circuit Court for guidance on the current operations of the Circuit Court, including criminal, family, juvenile, and guardianship matters.
Click on the following link for guidance on the current operation of the District Court, including bail reviews, bench warrants, body attachments, emergency evaluation petitions, and quarantine and isolation violations.  Additionally, emergency matters will be reviewed by the District Court to determine whether the matter must be heard in person, by remote electronic participation, be scheduled after the emergency period ends, or may be decided without a hearing: protective orders, criminal competency, contempt hearings related to peace or protective orders, matters involving locally incarcerated defendants, and motions regarding ERPOs, protective orders, and peace orders.
Information on the operations of other jurisdictions in Maryland can be found here.

COVID-19 Court Updates & Small Business Resources

April 2, 2020

Court Updates

  1. Governor Hogan issued an Executive Order on Monday, March 30th including a Stay at Home Order.  Law Firms are still considered essential and may remain open.  Click here for interpretive guidance and Click here for the full order.
  2. Maryland District Court issues Revised Policy on Interim Peace, Protective, and Extreme Risk Protective Orders (ERPOs).  Click here for additional information.
  3. The Office of Administrative Hearings has temporarily suspended any proceedings through May 1, 2020.  Click here for additional information.
  4. Baltimore City District Courts encourages attorneys to conduct remote conference calls for bail reviews.  Click here for additional information.
  5. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland has entered Administrative Order 20-06 Addressing Certain Deadlines Related to Meetings of Creditors, Administrative Order 20-07 Addressing the Prohibition Against Recording Telephonic or Video Hearings and Administrative Order 20-08 Addressing Temporary Suspension of Courtesy Copy Deliveries. United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland
  6. Several members have expressed concern related to existing scheduling orders.  The BCBA is seeking clarification from the courts.
Resources for Businesses, including Law Firms
Grants and Loans for Maryland Businesses – Maryland businesses established for at least one (1) year and with employees (paid via W2) may be eligible for a grant or loan.  Grants do not have to be repaid.
  1. Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund – Grants up to $10,000.00.
    1. Small Business Relief Grant Fund
  2. Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund – loan up to $50,000.00
    1. Emergency Relief Loan
Federal loan resources:1. Small business, private non-profits, homeowners, and renters may qualify for loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Before you decide which program to apply for, it is highly recommended you read the Guide to the CARES Act.
a.Economic Injury Loan
b.Paycheck Protection Program

Circuit Court Status During Closure

April 2, 2020

With the court closure extended until at least May 4th, we continue to operate with essential personnel.  The following matters occur on a continuing basis:

  • MDEC pleadings are processed, either through personnel in the courthouse or those working remotely.  Almost all are docketed on the day they are received and are tasked for rulings in the normal course of business.
  • Non-MDEC users can file papers through the drop box in the lobby of the courthouse during business hours.  There is a separate drop box for land records matters. These are processed daily by the Clerk’s Office. 
  • Criminal Matters
    • Bail reviews and habeas petitions are handled daily via video at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 15 or 18.  Remote participation can be arranged by contacting Phil Pokorny at Philip.Pokorny@mdcourts.gov.
    • VOP bench warrant hearings are scheduled the morning after pickup on the video bail docket.
  • Family Law Matters
    • Requests for emergency hearing are tasked for review daily by Judge Jakubowski, with remote hearings set when appropriate.
    • Domestic violence petitions pending final hearing will be set the week courts re-open.  Requests for other interim consideration are tasked for review by Judge Jakubowski.
    • Requests for extensions of existing domestic violence orders are tasked for review to Judge Cavanaugh. 
    • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) matters are being reviewed and set for a remote hearing by Judge Ballou-Watts if the juvenile is approaching his or her 21st birthday.
  • A Chambers Judge is assigned daily to process routine matters and review any requests for ex parte relief. 
  • Juvenile Matters
    • Detention hearings are scheduled daily with a juvenile judge through Zoom whenever needed.
    • CINA shelters are reviewed daily with remote hearings set through Webex with a juvenile judge.
  • Guardianship Matters
    • Requests for emergency hearings are screened through the Guardianship Case Manager and referred to a guardianship judge for consideration.  Remote hearings will be set when appropriate by Jessica Labenberg, who can be contacted at Jessica.Labenberg@mdcourts.gov.
  • Marriage Licenses are not being processed except in emergency circumstances such as imminent deployment, serious illness, etc.  Requests for emergency consideration must be made in writing to the licensing department at ccbaltcoclerklicensing@mdcourts.gov.  These are reviewed by the Administrative Judge who will authorize remote issuance of a license in appropriate circumstances.

As the length of this closure extends, we are exploring ways to promote remote resolution of civil and family law matters.  Settlement conferences that have been postponed will be re-scheduled, and upcoming conferences will be scheduled with remote participation.  Questions concerning remote settlement conferencing can be sent to Abby Cohen at Abigail.Cohen@mdcourts.gov. Family law matters that are fully resolved can also be scheduled for remote hearing by contacting Abby Cohen.

COVID-19 Message from Sponsors

March 30, 2020

Health Quest

https://www.hqchiro.com/

Health Quest is not shut down! Health Quest will still provide in-office care of active patients in the acute phase of care. Dr. Ettlinger and Dr. Barrett are contacting every patient by phone to evaluate their specific status:

  • STATUS OPTION ONE:  Are patients far enough along in care that they can be managed through weekly or bi-weekly tele-health virtual visits? If so, one of our doctors will conduct those virtual visits and document their charts per the email we issued yesterday. This process keeps cases well documented but minimizes the risk of community spread of COVID-19 to staff and patients.
  • STATUS OPTION TWO:  Are patients still early in care and/or still so acute that they require in-office treatment? If so, we will deliver that treatment out of either our Owings Mills, White Marsh or Remington locations in a way that minimizes health risks by maintaining the strict sanitizing/health guidelines mandated by the state and federal government.

 

Health Quest is still accepting new injury cases. Every new client/patient will receive an in-office evaluation with one of our doctors as well as a treatment plan that will be carried out under one of the two status options outlined above.

We apologize for any confusion! This is a very complicated time impacted by MANY facets that we are trying to manage both reactively and proactively in a way that not only follows the law but protects our staff, our patients and the community at large. Thank you for your patience and continued support as we fine-tune our implementation of these policies and mandates.

Should you have ANY questions, you can reach Dr. Ettlinger 24/7 on his cell at 410-340-1967, or Marcy Ettlinger on her cell at 443-253-9837. In the meantime, we hope you and your team are staying safe and relatively functional during this crazy time!

 

Insight Network ConsultantsDuring this time, InsightNC continues to operate at full capacity, while limiting site visits for critical emergencies.  Our clients were already fully prepared to function remotely, which resulted in a smooth transition to work from home.  By providing easy to use and robust remote access systems, and flexible VoIP phone systems, our clients continue to stay productive.  We know this is a difficult time, and the adjustment for some businesses can be tough.

We are offering discounted services to help those businesses in dire need of the ability to work and communicate from home.  For IT services, we are offering up to 50% off our standard monthly rates with NO onboarding or upfront fees.  For our flexible and powerful VoIP phone service, we are reducing pricing from $25.50/seat to $14.50/seat, with NO onboarding or activation fees, and can you get on our platform in less than 2 business days.

 

We want to see our fellow small and local businesses succeed through this tough time, and we want to help as much as we can.  Please call 410-INSIGHT or visit us at https://www.insightnc.com

 

Multi Specialty Healthcare

www.MSHCLegal.com

Greetings from Multi-Specialty HealthCare,

During these extraordinary times amid the COVID-19 challenges we are all experiencing, we hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy.

As you know Multi-Specialty HealthCare (MSHC) has 33 care centers throughout Maryland and Delaware with 50 providers offering a broad scope of services including: orthopedic, neurological, physical medicine and rehabilitation, internal medicine, chiropractic/rehabilitation/physiotherapy, aquatic therapy, work hardening/conditioning and diagnostic services including: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electro-diagnostics (prohibited until further notice), and plain film X-Rays.

We are open and operating at this time and anticipate being available to care for your clients/our patients throughout these challenging times and until we emerge from this unprecedented pandemic.

Please be aware that per the Maryland Department of Health treatment is confined to those procedures that are “critical to the maintenance of the health of your client/our patient.”  Thus, we will not be doing ratings, IME’s, well patient, or preventive care visits until further notice.  In addition, all elective surgical procedures need to be rescheduled.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is being strictly adhered to in all of our facilities.

  1. Upon arrival into the parking area, your client will call the care center and inform them that they are here for their appointment. The staff member, via call, will inform the patient when they are ready for your client to enter the facility safely.
  2. Approved sanitary and hygienic products are being used before and after the care of each patient

Treatment Protocols

If your client is COVID-19 symptom free, i.e. not exhibiting

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Dry Cough
  • Sore Throat

They should keep their scheduled appointment.

If your client is experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms, or have been exposed to anyone exhibiting these symptoms, please call to schedule a telemedicine visit with one of our physicians at 1-888-807-2778

Telemedicine

We have telehealth technology available for our existing and new patients that, for any reason, are not able to come in person to our care centers.  Telemedicine appointments can either be video or audio only, depending on whether or not your client has smartphone capabilities.  Telemedicine visits can be scheduled by calling the appointment line @ 888-807-2778.

If you don’t already have access to our legal portal, please go to and access the attorney portal to sign up or contact one of our marketing team members:

  • Bruce Laird: 443-983-4690
  • Jenna Yalich: 443-310-8213
  • Chrysis Peters: 410-802-4399
  • Randy Waugh: 410-980-6500
  • Christine Walton: 443-421-0897

 

In closing, we want to remind you that continuity of care is extremely important in providing our patient/your client the best possible outcome.  We want to assure you that Multi-Specialty HealthCare stands ready to do whatever it takes to assist with a safe and effective transition as the natural progression of this challenge we are all facing comes to a conclusion.  We are humbly grateful for all of the support and for the ongoing professional relationship with MAJ and its members.

 

Yours in Health,

The Partners of Multi-Specialty Health Care

Dr. Constantine Misoul

Dr. Lawrence Rubin

Dr. Charles Thorne

Dr. Lawrence Yalich

 

Planet Depos

https://planetdepos.com/remote-depositions

Planet Depos is fully operational during the Covid-19 crisis. We are available to assist you 24/7 with covering your depositions in person or remotely. If you would like more information about our remote deposition capabilities, you can find it here:

 

Vallit Vauation Advisors

https://www.vallitadvisors.com/

In light of the rapid evolution of COVID-19, the team at Vallit would like to assure our clients, friends, colleagues and their families that we are actively taking precautions aimed at lessening the spread of COVID-19. Thankfully, because of the integrated technologies utilized by our team, we are able to continue to provide the high-quality service that our clients are accustomed to while protecting their health and safety of them and our team members. While this current situation can feel overwhelming, please know that the team at Vallit is actively working to ease this stress by keeping your interactions with Vallit up to the same high standard that you expect. We are committed to the health and safety of our clients and the community. We truly appreciate your partnership as the situation continues to unfold and we continue to work hard to assist with your dispute advisory, business valuation and forensic accounting needs.

 

Zest Social Media Solutions

www.ZestSMS.com

Zest remains fully operational, and is working to support clients throughout the country with their emergency response efforts. This includes developing digital communications to clients, supporting remote work and digital automation technology through websites, and other digital media support in managing the crisis.