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NEWS, UPDATES & ARTICLES
 
     
 
Two lawyers from Pike & Gilliss, LLC have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016.
 
 
Patrick M. Pike was selected as The Best Lawyers' 2016, Baltimore Litigation-Construction "Lawyer of the Year," as well as a Best Lawyer in the field of Construction Law. Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community is being honored as a "Lawyer of the Year." In 2013, Mr. Pike was awarded Baltimore "Lawyer of the Year" for Construction Law.

David D. Gilliss was selected for the 4th consecutive year for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Litigation – Construction and Litigation – Municipal.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Over 79,000 leading attorneys globally are eligible to vote, and we have received more than 12 million votes to date on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2016 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 6.7 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 55,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."
 
 
 
     
 
Pike & Gilliss, LLC is pleased to announce that Alexander B. Kahn has joined the firm as an Associate.
 
 
Mr. Kahn, is a graduate of Hobart College (2009) and of Pennsylvania State University – The Dickinson School of Law (2013). Prior to joining the firm, he held the position of Senior Law Clerk for the Honorable Thomas C. Groton, III and the Honorable Richard R. Bloxom in Worcester County Circuit Court.

 
 
 
     
 
David D. Gilliss, of Pike & Gilliss, LLC located in Timonium, Maryland has been named one of the "Top 100 Lawyers" by Maryland Super Lawyers Magazine for 2015.
 
 
All five attorneys in the firm were recognized by the publication.

In addition to Mr. Gilliss, Patrick M. Pike and Joel P. Williams were named "Super Lawyers in the field of Surety Law." Eric G. Korphage was named a "Rising Star" in the same practice area. Finally, Patrick J. Madigan was named a "Super Lawyer" in the field of Business Litigation for 2015.

Super Lawyers Magazine is published by Thomson Reuters Service in conjunction with Baltimore Magazine. Initially, lawyers from across the state of Maryland are asked to name the top attorneys they've personally observed in their respective field. After credentials, background and experience are reviewed, a blue ribbon panel of peers within their primary area of practice evaluates the pool. For a more detailed description of the selection process visit superlawyers.com.
 
     
     
 
Two lawyers from Pike & Gilliss, LLC have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2015.
 
 
Patrick M. Pike was selected a Best Lawyer, for the 8th consecutive year, in the area of Construction Law and the 5th time for Construction Litigation.

David D. Gilliss was selected for a 3rd time as a Best Lawyer in two fields: Construction and Municipal Litigation.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 36,000 leading attorneys cast almost 4.4 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel Magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."
 
     
     
 
Pike & Gilliss, LLC Makes US News & World Report's "Best Law Firms" List.
 
 
US News & World Report and Best Lawyers have released its 2014-15 "Best Law Firms" list, and Pike & Gilliss, LLC earned First-Tier rankings in the area of Construction Law in the Baltimore Metropolitan area, and Tier 3 recognition at the National level.

According to the publication, US News & World Report annually compiles survey results from more than 40,000 legal professionals, and 50,000 businesses including all Fortune 100 companies, to identify the best law firms in more than 171 metropolitan markets. US News & World Report is internationally recognized for its ranking services.

For more information on the selection process visit: http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx


 
     
     
 
Pike & Gilliss partner Joel Williams co-authored a chapter on Loss and Valuation in the American Bar Association's 2014 publication Commercial Crime Insurance Coverage.
 
 
In connection with publication of the book, Joel also participated in an expert panel presentation at the ABA's Fidelity and Surety Law Committee program – Commercial Crime Insurance, Answers to the Questions.

 
   
     
 
Two lawyers from Pike & Gilliss, LLC have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2013
 
 
Patrick M. Pike was selected The Best Lawyers' 2013, Baltimore Construction Law "Lawyer of the Year," as well as a Best Lawyer in the field of Construction Litigation. David D. Gilliss was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Construction and Municipal Litigation.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 36,000 leading attorneys cast almost 4.4 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."
 
     
     
 
Pike & Gilliss, LLC Makes US News & World Report’s “Best Law Firms” List
 
 
US News & World Report and Best Lawyers have released its 2011-2012 “Best Law Firms” list, and Pike & Gilliss, LLC earned First-Tier rankings in the area of Construction Law in Maryland.

According to the publication, US News & World Report annually compiles survey results from more than 40,000 legal professionals, and 50,000 businesses including all Fortune 100 companies, to identify the best law firms in more than 171 metropolitan markets. US News & World Report is internationally recognized for its ranking services.

For more information on the selection process visit: http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx
 
   
   
 
District of Columbia Court of Appeals Issues Opinion Affirming Appropriately Narrow Interpretation of Supersedeas Bond.
 
 
On September 29, 2011, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued a published opinion in a supersedeas bond case argued by Joel P. Williams of Pike & Gilliss, LLC on behalf of the surety. The $300,000 supersedeas bond was issued by the surety as security for a stay of execution of a $165,000 judgment pending appeal. After affirming the judgment, the trial court also awarded the plaintiff $590,807 in attorney’s fees. The plaintiff demanded that the surety not only cover the $165,000 judgment, but also the $590,807 attorney fee award as well. The surety denied the claim for coverage of the attorney fee award, and ultimately filed a motion in the trial court to determine the proper extent of the surety’s obligation. Following extended arguments, the trial court agreed that the bond did not provide coverage for the subsequent fee award, and the claimant appealed. In a consolidated appeal, the appellate Court affirmed the attorney’s fee award in favor of the plaintiff, but rejected the argument that the fee award should be covered under the supersedeas bond. The case provides an excellent analysis of the issue, addressing the purpose of a supersedeas bond, its proper interpretation as a contract, and case law addressing the context in which such bonds are issued. The Court also rejected the plaintiff’s arguments that the bond’s references to “attorney’s fees” and “damages for delay” indicated an intention to cover a fee award that was not part of the original judgment on appeal. Purcell v. Thomas, ___ A.2d ____, 2011 WL 4481606 (D.C. September 29, 2011).
 
   
   
 
Pike & Gilliss, LLC Partner Named one of the
"Top 50 Maryland Super Lawyers."
 
 
Patrick M. Pike, of Pike & Gilliss, LLC located in Timonium, Maryland has again been named one of the "Top 50 Lawyers" by Maryland Super Lawyers Magazine; this time for 2011.

In addition to Mr. Pike, David D. Gilliss, the other founding partner, was also named a "Super Lawyer in the field of Construction/Surety Law". Sean P. Foley and Eric G. Korphage of the firm were named "Rising Stars" in the same practice area.

Pike & Gilliss, LLC is a Baltimore based law firm with a national practice, representing sureties, general contractors and subcontractors, as well as owners and individuals, with a focus in the areas of surety, construction, insurance, and commercial litigation.

Super Lawyers Magazine is published by Thomson Reuters Service in conjunction with Baltimore Magazine. Initially, lawyers from across the state of Maryland are asked to name the top attorneys they've personally observed in their respective field. After credentials, background and experience are reviewed, a blue ribbon panel of peers within their primary area of practice evaluates the pool. For a more detailed description of the selection process visit superlawyers.com.
 
   
   
 
David Gilliss will argue a construction case with important and far-reaching implications for public works’ contractors before the Maryland Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court, on December 7th of this year.  David successfully tried the case in Worcester County against the Worcester County School Board two years ago.
 
 
On February 26, 2010, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (CSA), Maryland’s intermediate appellate court, issued a decision in which it held that a school board is immune from suit and therefore has no obligation to pay a contractor for agreed extra work, additional services, delay damages, and even a remaining contract balance on a written contract, if there is no appropriation remaining to cover the contractor’s claim. The case is reported as
Board of Education of Worcester County v. BEKA Industries, Inc., 190 Md.App. 668, 989 A.2d 1181 (2010).

According to the CSA, there is no guarantee of payment of a claim against a school board – even one arising from a written contract - unless funds have been appropriated for the payment of such damages and those funds remain available. The CSA left unclear whether “available funds” means any funds in a school board’s coffers, any funds left in the construction account, contingency funds, or something else. In the BEKA case, the school board has taken the position that once the construction funds are depleted, the contractor is out of luck; regardless of how those funds have been spent and to whom those funds have been paid. Payment is, essentially, on a “first come, first served” basis, and the school board has taken the position that it has no obligation to expend contingency funds or to transfer funding from other sources to cover a judgment in favor of a contractor.

Unfortunately, the Court of Special Appeals made certain assumptions that led them to the wrong conclusions. Simply stated, the Court of Special Appeals’ analysis and application of the doctrine of sovereign immunity commenced in the wrong place. The Court of Special Appeals commenced its analysis of the sovereign immunity issue assuming that the Board possessed sovereign immunity from suit in contract. Had the Court examined the history of the doctrine of sovereign immunity in Maryland as applied to local boards of education, it would not have made this critical misassumption.
In Bolick v. Bd. of Educ. of Charles County, 256 Md. 180, 183, 260 A.2d 31 (1969) and Bd. of Educ. of Charles County v. Alcrymat Corp. of Am., 258 Md. 508, 512, 266 A.2d 349 (1970), Maryland’s highest appellate court clearly stated that local boards of education do not enjoy the defense of sovereign immunity in actions brought against them based upon written contracts. Therefore, the Court of Special Appeals should have commenced its analysis of the sovereign immunity issue with the understanding that the Board did not possess sovereign immunity in actions based upon a written contract. The Court of Special Appeals erroneous assumption that the Board possessed the right to assert the defense of sovereign immunity in contract actions derailed its entire opinion and rendered it in error.

What the CSA’s decision means to all contractors doing business with school boards is that there is no guarantee of payment for either the original contract sum or for change orders or delay damages. There is no guarantee of payment to subcontractors if a valid “pay if paid” or “pay when paid” clause exists in the subcontract, or if the subcontractor has agreed to pass all claims through to the government owner. Further, there is no guarantee that sureties can recover funds from school boards if they step into the shoes of the contractor.

Contractors in the region have already said that the CSA’s decision will have a significant chilling effect on the business of school construction in Maryland – and undoubtedly elsewhere. The scope of the CSA decision is so broad as to include not only change order work and contractor claims, but also contract work as well. Under the CSA’s decision, a county school board could either negligently or intentionally re-allocate funding away from a school construction project to some other project or purpose. More troubling, even if a contractor were to properly and timely complete a school construction project, and comply with all contract terms and specifications, a school board under this decision could simply move money to a different account and then, pointing to this case, assert that the contractor has the burden of proving that the school board has money. This is not what the legislature has said, and this case should not stand.

Following the BEKA decision, the affected contractor petitioned Maryland’s highest court for certiorari. The petition for certiorari was granted, briefs have been filed, and the case will be heard in the high court on December 7, 2010.
 
     
     
 
DRI member David D. Gilliss of Pike & Gilliss, LLC in Timonium, Maryland, successfully represented a general contractor who was issued a citation by the Maryland Occupational Safety & Health agency (MOSH), asserting a “Serious” violation and charging the contractor with a violation of the General Duty clause of the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Law of Maryland.
 
 
The case involved a serious employee injury that happened during the dismantling of a crane. Following a two-day trial, the defendant general contractor obtained a decision from the administrative law judge that vacated the Commissioner’s citation and eliminated, in full, the monetary penalty that had been assessed against the contractor.
Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (MOSH) v. Wickersham Construction & Engineering, Inc., OAH No.: DLR-MOSH-41-09-34224.
 
     
 
   
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