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Readers are invited to submit Letters to the Editor to stimulate dialogue on articles and features published in the Trial Reporter. For more information, contact the MAJ office by phone at (410) 872-0990 or e-mail at info@marylandassociationforjustice.com.


HB 204 Vehicle Laws - Commercial Motor Vehicles Engaged In Intrastate Commerce - Minimum Security Requirements Tis bill, supported by MAJ and signed into law by Governor O’Malley on April 12, 2011, subjects heavy intrastate for–hire vehicles designed to carry property to the federal financial responsibility requirements contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (i.e. minimum coverage of $750,000 for non-hazmat vehicles, $1 million for non-placarded hazmat vehicles, and $5 million for placarded hazmat vehicles). Tis bill takes effect on January 1, 2012.


SB 483 Punitive Damages - High-Risk Drunk Drivers Tis bill, strongly supported by MAJ, would have permitted juries to impose punitive damages against certain “high risk” drunk drivers. Tis bill died in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on a 6-5 vote.


HB 1120 Civil Action - Wrongfully Selling or Furnishing Alcoholic Beverages MAJ strongly supported this first time attempt at enacting a dram shop law in Maryland. Not unexpectedly for a major first time bill, the bill died in committee without a vote.


SB 138 Courts - Evidence - Vehicle Repair Estimates Tis bill would have permitted a written vehicle repair estimate prepared by an insurer or its authorized representative to be admitted into evidence without the testimony of the preparer of the estimate. MAJ supported the bill, which passed the Senate but died in the House without receiving a committee vote.


Legislation Impacting Workers’ Compensation


Workers’ Compensation bills present a particular challenge


for those interested in protecting and advancing workers’ rights. For at least the past decade, the two committees responsible for


10 Trial Reporter / Summer 2011


addressing this area of the law have tended to be protective of insurance and employer interests, and thus it is rare for a pro-workers bill to pass absent substantial agreement on the matter between the plaintiffs’ and defense bars. Tis legislative year was no exception.


HB 453 Workers’ Compensation - Jurisdiction Pending Appeal - Proposed Settlement MAJ strongly supported this bill granting the Workers’ Compensation Commission continuing jurisdiction to dispose of any request for approval of a proposed settlement of all or part of a claim while an Order of the Commission is on appeal to the Circuit Court. Tis bill was signed into law by Governor O’Malley and takes effect October 1, 2011.


HB 889/SB 413 Workers’ Compensation - Temporary Total Disability Benefits - Terminations Tese bills would have prohibited an employer or its insurer from terminating payment of temporary total disability benefits before the end of a specified period unless the Workers' Compensation Commission ordered a specified termination date. Te bills died in committee (no votes were held) despite MAJ’s support.


SB 1


Joint Committee on Workers’ Compensation Benefit and Insurance Oversight - Membership Tis bill, signed by the Governor on April 12, 2011, expands the membership of the Joint Committee on Workers’ Compensation Benefit and Insurance Oversight to include a representative from a self–insured local government entity. MAJ opposed this bill (albeit unsuccessfully) because it tilts the existing balance on the “Oversight Committee” to favor employers. This bill takes effect October 1, 2011.


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