Legal help for Maryland business in the coronavirus pandemic
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Legal help for your Maryland business might not be the first thought in the coronavirus pandemic. The expertise of public health professionals is the priority. Your restaurant or retail shop can be part of the solution, during the current public health crisis and beyond. The playing field was not even before, and the pandemic has only aggravated the disparities. If your Maryland business is struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic, a lawyer can help you to:

  • meet new public health requirements;
  • avoid new legal problems;
  • negotiate with landlords and other vendors;
  • obtain compensation for losses sustained during the pandemic.


During the Coronavirus Pandemic, lawyer Matt P. Lavine offers reduced legal fees to Maryland businesses.

Email or call/text
(301) 943-9080 to schedule your free consultation today.

Consultations will be by telephone or videoconferencing.

Legal Obligations IN THE PANDEMIC

Workers’ Compensation. Maryland’s Emergency Order directs everyone to wear masks. Compliance in the workplace can interfere with a worker’s normal range of vision. Wearing masks may risk more accidents at work, but not wearing masks can spread the disease among your workers. Both situations can result in Workers’ Compensation claims.

Employment Discrimination. The loss of revenue created by the pandemic and the Emergency Orders can force a business to make difficult decisions about employment. Public health data indicate that age and race are among the factors related to the impact of the coronavirus. Business owners and managers can not use this data as a pretense to engage in unlawful employment practices.

Landlords and other Vendors. Restrictions on occupancy reduce the viability of restaurants and other retail businesses. With fewer customers permitted in an establishment, businesses must adapt. Restaurants, with slim margins, can not survive with a 50% occupancy limit. Traditional contract law exempts obligations in emergencies, but negotiating with vendors can be more efficient. After all, a failed business pays no rent, and new businesses are unlikely to begin in a pandemic.

If you have questions about these issues, contact Matt P. Lavine, Esq. and receive legal help to sustain your Maryland business in the pandemic and beyond.


Immediate Relief. Landlords, Property Managers, and Local Governments typically restrict the business owner to designated outdoor boundaries. Succeeding in the pandemic requires creative solutions. Exceptions today are critical to survival of your business and may generate a healthier alternative for the future.

Compensation. Accepting the validity of Maryland’s restrictions does not leave the business owner without a remedy. If an Emergency Order harmed your business, then Maryland law provides you with the right to seek compensation.

Need legal help for your business during the pandemic? Contact attorney Matt P. Lavine.


J.D. 1985 Duke University School of Law

M.A. 1985 Duke University Graduate School

B.A. 1981 The Johns Hopkins University


U.S. District Court (Md.)
U.S. District Court (DC)
U.S.C.A. (4th Cir.)
Maryland Court of Appeals
Md. Court of Special Appeals
DC Court of Appeals
DC Superior Court
21 of the 24 Circuit Courts of Maryland
District Court of Maryland
Maryland Administrative Hearings


Contract negotiations (real estate, franchising, NDA’s, employment, licensing, vendors, sales)
Civil litigation (contract, construction, employment, discrimination, federal civil rights)
Criminal defense (jury and non-jury trials)


Adjunct Faculty, Univ. of Maryland Univ. College Business Law, Business Ethics, Employment Law

Technology consultant
Analyzed workflow of law firms and public agencies. Developed software system to improve productivity and work culture.

Basic network architecture, security, database design, SQL, html, IIS.



On March 5, 2020, Governor Hogan issued an Emergency Order. Marylanders were prohibited from public gatherings. Only businesses deemed essential could remain open. This initial Order was extended on March 17, April 10 and May 6, 2020.

On April 15, 2020, the Governor issued an Order that required people to cover the nose and mouth while in public. All retail stores, public facilities, and food service establishments were directed to maintain physical distancing of six feet.

On May 13, 2020, Governor Hogan issued a new Order. Maryland’s restaurants continued to be limited to carry-out and curbside delivery. Maryland’s bowling alleys, gyms and similar establishments remain closed.

The Order opened manufacturing facilities. In addition, the Order opened Maryland’s public parks and retail establishments, including hair salons and barbershops – – at 50% of capacity.

The Order empowered all counties and Baltimore City to maintain the restrictions imposed in the Order of March 5, 2020. It also retained the April 15 Order pertaining to masks and physical distancing.

coronavirus pandemic


Mowbray v. Zumot (USDC Md. 2009) Mowbray used a standard residential real estate contract to purchase the historic Hotel Brexton in Baltimore. In the contract’s margins, he handwrote amendments requiring that the seller repair exterior walls, install new windows and a new roof. After about a year, the seller declared that the work was complete, and Mowbray paid. Mowbray’s contractors later entered the building to plan the interior work. They immediately saw that the seller had not completed the work. Mowbray demanded compensation to fix the problems. After the seller refused all settlement offers, the case proceeded to trial. Judgment in excess of $540,000.00 was awarded to Mowbray.

Snell v. Buffington (USDC Md. 1997) A group of high school students got together on weekends to produce a satirical newspaper. When the principal found a copy of the newspaper in the school, he suspended the kids. The school system’s code of conduct prohibited the “distribution of unauthorized written material”. Challenging the suspension, we won. The superintendent rescinded the suspension. Next, to challenge the provision’s Constitutionality, we filed a civil rights case in Federal Court. Responding to our motion, the school district agreed that the provision violated the First Amendment. The superintendent deleted the provision from the code.

McNulty v. Prince George’s County (USDC. Md. 1992) McNulty, a Bronze Star recipient in the Vietnam War, was charged with embezzlement. The Judge dismissed the criminal trial for lack of evidence. In cross-examination, the employer admitted that he knew that McNulty did not commit any crime. As a result, McNulty filed suit in Federal Court. A meticulous review of 10,000 records proved the misconduct of the employer and the detective. Protecting the police, the Federal Court refused to let the jury find against the detective. A jury in the Federal Court awarded $125,000 for McNulty against his employer. The Fourth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals affirmed.



Insignia Residential v. Ashton (Md. Court Appeals 2000) Ashton was sexually assaulted by her boss. She fought him off, and he fired her. To cover his misconduct, he sent a letter to upper management stating that she had not passed her probationary period. A Prince George’s County jury awarded Ashton her lost wages and other damages. The employer appealed. Maryland’s highest court ruled for Ashton. Its ruling set the precedent in Maryland to allow compensation for workers terminated in violation of public policy.

Perkins v. State (Md.Ct.Spec.Apps. 1989) Police entered a hotel room without a warrant. They gained entry by lying about their need to enter the room. The appeals court reversed the conviction. The court ruled that police can not use deception to get consent to enter a residence. By lying about the need to enter the hotel room, the police violated the Fourth Amendment.

Claimant v. WAH (Md. Worker’s Compensation Commission 2003) Lab technician suffered from formaldehyde poisoning after a chemical spill in the lab. Employer rejected workers’ compensation, and claimant presented claim under Americans with Disabilities Act. To avoid potentially greater liability, the employer admitted the validity of the Workers’ Compensation claim.


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