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Book celebrates evolution of women attorneys in Maryland

Book celebrates evolution of women attorneys in Maryland

When Belva Lockwood was denied admission to the Carroll County bar in 1881, a county judge wrote in his decision that women were equipped “as little for the judicial conflicts of the court-room, as for the physical conflicts of the battlefield.” Fast forward 134 years: Lockwood’s history, along with the tales of generations of other women attorneys in Maryland, make up a newly released book called Finding Justice. The project was sponsored by the Maryland Women’s Bar Association Foundation and spearheaded by Court of Appeals Judge Lynne A. Battaglia, who named Lockwood’s story as one of the highlights of the work.

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OMG! Court of Appeals tackles social media

Social media was on trial in an opinion issued last week by Maryland’s highest court, and the "reasonable juror" won. At issue was how trial judges deal with authenticating evidence from a site like Facebook or Twitter. The Court of Appeals’ verdict: judges must simply determine that such a juror could find proof that the evidence is what the plaintiff or defendant claims it to be. In its opinion released Thursday, which consolidated three criminal cases, the court said proof of the authenticity of social networking pages or messages can be direct or circumstantial, as long as it lives up to the “reasonable juror” standard.

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RICO suit: MGM casino construction shut out minority businesses

RICO suit: MGM casino construction shut out minority businesses

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Monday claims MGM National Harbor failed to award contracts for a significant portion of the construction of a $1.2 billion casino to minority businesses, despite receiving federal housing and community development funds earmarked for that purpose. The plaintiffs — which include the federal government, along with the Maryland Business Clergy Partnership and several minority businesses — claim that in filings with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development Director Eric Brown falsely stated that the casino project was complying with requirements to receive HUD funding.

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EEOC sues Md. state insurance agency over pay discrimination

EEOC sues Md. state insurance agency over pay discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a class action lawsuit against the Maryland Insurance Administration, alleging the agency pays female employees lower wages than male employees for the same work. The suit was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Baltimore under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between workers at the same establishment performing jobs that require largely equal skills and effort. Since at least December 2009, the Maryland Insurance Administration has willfully paid female investigators and enforcement officers less than their male counterparts, the complaint states.

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Use of prosecutorial discretion to close immigration cases down

The use of prosecutorial discretion to close cases in Baltimore Immigration Court has lagged below the national trend, particularly this year, when the method was used to close just 1.6 percent of the immigration cases reported closed in January and February. But even nationally, only 6.7 percent of closed immigration cases since October 2011 have been recipients of prosecutorial discretion, or PD, according to data from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. These figures appear to contrast with President Barack Obama’s call to close nonpriority cases and concentrate on deporting criminals and national security threats, but immigration attorneys said there are likely several factors influencing the relatively low percentage of cases that have received prosecutorial discretion in recent years.

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Caveat bitcoin: Towson attorney advises on ‘cryptocurrency’

Caveat bitcoin: Towson attorney advises on ‘cryptocurrency’

For companies delving into an industry where legal regulation is in flux — such as the digital currency known as bitcoin — developing a thriving business while navigating federal and state requirements can be a daunting task. “It’s all kind of in this state of development where the technology is ahead of the law,” said Jeremy Garner, a corporate and tax attorney with Bowie & Jensen LLC in Towson. "Lawmakers are trying to determine, do our existing laws apply, how does this fit within our existing laws and do existing laws adequately cover it?"

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