Duke University School of Law (J.D. ’85)
– Created J.D./M.A. in Constitutional Law, History
Duke University Graduate School (M.A. ’85)
– Master’s Thesis: The Origin of the Bill of Rights
The Johns Hopkins University (B.A. 1981)
– Senior Thesis: Conflicting Ideologies at the Constitutional Convention
The University of Maryland Graduate School
– (Ph.D. candidate 1988-90); dissertation: Roots of the First Amendment
MARYLAND TRIALS, APPEALS, ADVICE
Litigation: criminal defense, civil rights, malicious prosecution, employment law, Federal employment grievances, wrongful termination, general contracts, serious personal injury, workers’ compensation, partnership fraud, real estate agreements, construction law, condemnation, insurance agreements, tax disputes, zoning appeals.
Transactional: real estate purchase agreements and leases; licensing and non-disclosures; partnerships, franchise and employment contracts.
WRONGFUL TERMINATION: SET MARYLAND PRECEDENT
Client repeatedly rejected the sexual advances of one supervisor. When her direct supervisor accosted her, she ran from office. Later that day, the supervisor declared that she was terminated for failure to meet the company’s standards.
Client hired a lawyer who reportedly filed a claim with the EEOC. After several months passed, the client called her lawyer. There was no response. Eventually, the client discovered that her lawyer had left the practice of law. When we met, I contacted the Commission, but no staff could locate the file.
To that point, the Maryland Court of Appeals had refused to recognize the tort of wrongful termination in Maryland. Relying on a footnote in the most recent opinion on the issue, I filed a lawsuit based on a tort claim not previously recognized in the State. At trial, the jury awarded my client an amount for her lost wages and mental suffering.
On appeal, the Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed. For the first time, Maryland law officially recognized the claim of wrongful termination based on quid pro quo sexual harassment.
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE DISPUTE
The parties used a standard Maryland residential purchase contract for the purchase of an historic Baltimore hotel. Client wrote in the document’s margin, “seller to fix exterior walls, install roof and windows”. The parties initialed the note. About one year later, seller declared that the work was finished. Without inspecting the work, client transferred the agreed amount. Months later, he learned that seller had not completed the installation.
I filed suit in the U.S. District Court. Seller argued that client had waived any legal claim and denied any liability. At trial, we presented evidence of the cost of completing the agreed work. We won a judgment for the amount requested, more than $500,000.00.
UNLAWFUL ARREST – MALICIOUS PROSECUTION
Client was a decorated Vietnam War veteran who, after his service, completed a degree in bookkeeping. For his first civilian job, he worked as the comptroller of a small plumbing supply company. After several years, his wife wanted to return to her hometown and start their family. At the owner’s request, Client spent two months commuting from Florida to Maryland.
Finally facing an inability to pay the company’s taxes, the owner filed an insurance claim for theft. The owner told a police detective that Client had stolen funds from the company. Without investigation, the detective obtained an arrest warrant and extradition.
After winning Client’s criminal trial, I filed a Federal civil rights claim against the police department and a malicious prosecution claim against the company. At trial in the U.S. District Court, the judge ruled that the police officer’s work, though substandard, was insufficiently harmful to negate his immunity. The jury found for McNulty against his employer and awarded damages.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION – AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
Client, a lab technician, claimed a permanent disability following a large chemical spill in the lab. Client had filed a claim in the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. The hospital denied the claim as compensable. I presented a complaint for filing in the local circuit court under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The hospital then reversed its position and accepted full liability.
FOURTH AMENDMENT – UNLAWFUL POLICE SEARCH
Police deceived an occupant to gain his consent to enter a residence. I argued that deception negated consent. Maryland’s intermediate appellate court agreed and reversed the conviction.
FIRST AMENDMENT – UNLAWFUL STUDENT CODE
A group of high school students created an “underground” newspaper. When their school’s principal saw a copy, he suspended the students. The County’s student code prohibited the “distribution of unauthorized written materials”. After a hearing, the school district reversed the suspension but refused to remove the provision from its student code. Filing suit in the U.S. District Court, I moved for summary judgment on the issue of the school district’s violation of the First Amendment. The district conceded the issue and produced proof of the removal of the regulation.
- State of Maryland (1985)
- U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (1988)
- U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1992)
- U.S. Supreme Court (1997)
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (1998)
- District of Columbia (1993) (inactive)
CONTACT MATT P. LAVINE, ESQ.
For more than thirty years, I have been advising clients and litigating their cases. I’ve negotiated multi-million dollar real estate deals. I’ve won lawsuits that other lawyers claimed were impossible to win.
If my qualifications seem to meet your criteria, contact me. Then you can decide whether I am the best Maryland lawyer for you.
There is no “best Maryland lawyer” or “best Maryland trial lawyer”. The Maryland Bar Association does not rank the State’s trial lawyer. There is no test that measures the best lawyer.
As a result, the legal profession is reduced by the influence of lawyers’ advertisements and marketing companies. All the marketing for lawyers has not helped the legal profession or people in need of an attorney.
Here are the basics:
(1) The Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit lawyers from claiming to be the “best”. The “best” lawyer in the courtroom on Monday may not be “best” lawyer in the courtroom on Thursday. The “best” lawyer for your friend’s case may not be the “best” lawyer for you. Remember that rating systems are the creatures of marketing companies.
(2) The Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit lawyers from implying that past performance proves a future result. All the preparation in the world often does not survive the effects of the real world. Beware “client testimonials”.
(3) The medical profession tests doctors to maintain their certification. Lawyers need to pass one test to enter the practice of law.