Latest Articles from Our Blog

What is the MD Consumer Protection Act – And How Does it Affect You?

If you live in Maryland and have been the victim of an unscrupulous landlord, service provider, or seller of consumer goods, you have a powerful tool to help you fight back and win restitution: The Maryland Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Created in 1973 to protect citizens against unfair and deceptive business practices and “restore an undermined public confidence in merchants,” the legislation is designed to “set minimum statewide standards for the protection of consumers” with the recognition that existing laws were “inadequate, poorly coordinated and not widely known or adequately enforced.” More specifically, the CPA strives to offer “strong protective and preventive steps to investigate unlawful consumer practices, to assist the public in obtaining relief from these practices, and to prevent these practices from occurring in Maryland.” Realizing you’ve been duped or scammed is frustrating, embarrassing, and can cost you money that you can’t afford to lose. Call the skilled…

Minimum Standards of Care for Animals

Domestic animals are completely dependent on their human caretakers for food, shelter, medical care, and their overall health and happiness. If they are being abused or neglected, they can’t speak up, and they don’t have recourse to improve their quality of life. We understand that as the proprietor of an animal-based enterprise, you face the same challenges as any small business, and then some. Whether you’re a farmer, veterinarian, dog walker, trainer, groomer, or pet boarder, you have to juggle the needs of customers, employees, and the animals in your care — all while watching your bottom line. The well-being of your charges is paramount. In Maryland criminal code 10-604, the state defines the minimum standard of care that every animal is entitled to receive. Attorney Rebekah Lusk not only knows animal and equine law inside and out, she runs a horse farm and boarding facility herself, giving her valuable…

What Are Replevin/Detinue Actions?

If another person has taken — or borrowed and refused to return — property belonging to you, you may be wondering whether you have legal recourse to recover the item or items. Yes, you do, in the form of replevin and detinue actions. These two types of cases are very similar, but there are a few key differences. The lawyers at Lusk Law, LLC are happy to sit down with you and discuss the specifics of each type of action and which is most appropriate for your situation. A Replevin Action Is Quicker, but Temporary If you want the fastest possible return of your property, a replevin action may be the best first step. When you file for replevin, you must demonstrate in a Show Cause hearing that you are entitled to gain possession of the property right away. Just because you own the item or have title to it…

5 Steps Businesses Should Take to Reduce the Threat of a Lawsuit

It’s an unpleasant part of doing business, but it’s an increasingly common one: If you’re a business owner, you may very well find yourself facing a lawsuit. In fact, a recent poll found that 43 percent of small-business owners in the U.S. have been threatened with or involved with a civil lawsuit. And as luck would have it, the U.S. legal system is the world’s most costly. A report by the Small Business Association Office of Advocacy found that the cost of litigation for small firms can range up to $130,000. That’s a big bill for a small business trying to make ends meet. As a business owner, you might be sued by one of your customers, accusing you of providing faulty goods or services or claiming to have been injured on your property. You might also be sued by employees claiming, for example, discrimination or other breaches of HR policy. Prepare Now to…

How Small-Business Owners Can Reduce Slip & Fall Liability

As a small-business owner, you likely don’t have the deep pockets of a large corporation. If sued, you can’t pay out a hefty settlement and then just move on. One costly lawsuit may have the power to break you and your company. The good news is that Maryland is one of the few states that applies a principle called “contributory negligence” to personal injury claims. As opposed to the “comparative negligence” rule that most states follow, contributory negligence is more favorable to defendants. Basically, it means that in order to win compensation, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant is entirely responsible for the incident that led to injury. In comparative negligence states, the party being sued may be on the hook for some damages even if the plaintiff is found to be partly responsible for the accident. That said, it’s in your and your customers’ best interests to make…

Lusk Law Client Spotlight: 22 Karrots Health & Wellness Bar

At Lusk Law, LLC, we’re incredibly proud of the relationships we build with clients. We’ve had the pleasure of working with many business owners who are inspiring and forward-thinking individuals. One of our clients, Lauren Cross, recently launched a new business venture called 22 Karrots Health & Wellness Bar. Lauren is a juice junkie, health enthusiast and the perfect ambassador for the health-conscious and delicious offerings she’s serving to patrons in Frederick, Maryland. Lauren was kind enough to share with us her story and her business goals. Tell us about yourself and your business.  My name is Lauren, drawing from my roots in the Frederick community and my 10 years of business, project management, and accounting experience. My position at a leading accounting firm in Bethesda, MD, has propelled me to master critical skills, including the management of customers, vendors, and business partners, multitasking, resolving discrepancies and complaints, and much…

Understanding a Tenant’s Right of First Refusal

The concept behind the right of first refusal is fairly straightforward: Contractually, it’s a right granted to Entity A to enter into a business transaction with Entity B before anybody else is able to. If Entity A decides not to take part in the transaction, Entity B is then free to negotiate with other potential buyers. Often, this concept appears in real estate transactions, where the seller grants a certain party the right to purchase a property before anybody else can. Many leases executed between tenants and landlords contain a right of first refusal clause. In Baltimore City, however, a tenant’s right of first refusal is on the legal books, established in Subtitle 6 of Article 13 of the Baltimore City Code. What does the law say? The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) maintains that “before title to any single-family residential rental property is voluntarily transferred, the tenant of…

Title or Deed: Which One Do You Need?

You’ve been working for months on that complex real estate transaction, and it’s finally coming together. Just a little paperwork left to be completed, and you’ll be ready to receive the deed. Or wait—is it the title? Most of the public uses the two terms interchangeably, and in the public mind both words represent the same general concept: proof of ownership of a property. But in legal terms, “deed” and “title” have quite different meanings; and if you have any hope of making sense out of a real estate deal, you need to understand the distinction. Titles vs. Deeds When you own a property completely, it’s true that you will possess both the title and the deed. But there’s only one of those things that you can file away in a file cabinet. "A deed is a legal document used to confirm or convey the ownership rights to a property,"…

What is the Impact of Low Unemployment on Small Business Owners?

Low unemployment numbers are great for the economy, but not always for small business owners. In late 2018, unemployment numbers in the United States dropped to 3.7 percent. According to a report from NPR, this was the lowest point in nearly 50 years. This means more Americans are working abd putting more money into the local economies. This is beneficial to business owners, because more money in the local economy means customers and clients have more to spend with businesses. But for small business owners considering making a hire, this lower unemployment number also means that the pool of available employees is shrinking. Here is what today’s business owners need to understand about the mixed blessing of low unemployment. Many Small Businesses Concerned About Filling Available Positions A strong economy means growth for small businesses, and with growth comes a need to hire additional employees. In a recent survey, 29 percent of…

A New Year, a New Business Plan?

New Year's is a time for personal reflection, for recommitting to old goals and making resolutions. But what about your business? Like you, it probably could use some fine-tuning. The first of the year is the perfect time to make a new business plan, one that sets new objectives and determines the goals most needed to move the company forward. Scheduling some time at the beginning of this year to create a new business plan will give you renewed faith in your enterprise and the motivation to implement some much-needed changes. Plan for the New Five (or Ten...or 15) Years The way people do business is changing all the time. That's why making a five-year plan is so important. The plan lets you ... take stock of where the business is right now develop a clear break-down of your goals and the steps needed to attain each goal consider how…