Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Fun Facts

From our family to yours, we hope you've had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Here are some fun facts that we thought we'd share.

The Puritans brought beer with them on the ship, thereby making beer a traditional Thanksgiving drink.

The concept of American football games being played on Thanksgiving Day dates back to 1876 when the game was invented.

NFL games being played on Thanksgiving Day is a tradition dating back to the 1920's when the league was created.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney | Parent's Providing Alcohol to Minors

visit us at or call (410) 995-1515 today to speak with a top rated Maryland criminal defense attorney for a Free Case Evaluation.

Just last week, Montgomery County prosecutors dropped more than 30 charges against a couple and their two sons who were accused of hosting an underage keg party.  This case raises the question of whether county police are being too aggressive in trying to crack down on underage drinking.
The charges were dropped after a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge found that police officers had “improperly slipped into the backyard” of the couple’s house.  As a result, the judge stated that all observations made and evidence collected from being in the backyard was not admissible in court.  Montgomery County has a specially trained group of officers that focuses on making sure underage drinking parties are not taking place.  The county’s reason for employing this special group of officers is to combat the “numerous drunk-driving deaths” in the county. 

This case arose from a series of events on the night of January 4th.  First, a Papa John’s driver delivered multiple pizzas to a house and observed what he thought were underage teenagers drinking beer.  The driver then reported what he saw to a police friend.  Then, that information was passed on to alcohol enforcement officers.  When the officers arrived, they positioned themselves around the house where some of them entered the backyard of the house and observed what appeared to be people under 21 “holding red plastic cups.”  In addition, they saw several people holding cans of beer and standing near a keg.  Officers next went to the front door and told the homeowner they received a complaint of underage drinking and asked if they could come inside.  Eventually, both the homeowner, his wife, and two sons were arrested and charged with various alcohol-related offenses.  The attorneys for the defendants concluded that police officers never saw anything from their vantage point before illegally entering the backyard of the house.  The judge agreed with the defendants’ attorneys, stating, “Courts have treated [areas near the back door] as an extension of the house and as such subject to all the privacy protections afforded in a person’s home under the Fourth Amendment.”

The ruling in this case is quite interesting given the fact that public safety is a major emphasis for the county.  While police officers are working hard to combat underage drinking and to prevent drunk driving, the officers cannot violate people’s Fourth Amendment rights in order to obtain evidence.

If you or a family member has been charged with providing alcohol to minors or with DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information, please feel free to contact our office at (410) 995-1515 or visit us on the web at

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Maryland Personal Injury Attorney-Stage Diving Injury

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or call 410-995-1515 to speak with an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney today for a Free Consultation.

Three years ago, an Ottobar concertgoer attended a show to see the local band Stout perform.  During that show, Yuri Sanchez suffered a broken neck after another man jumped off stage and struck his knee against Sanchez’s head.  As a result, Sanchez underwent cervical spinal fusion surgery and is now forced to use a walker in order to get around.  Consequently, Sanchez has not been able to return to work.  His attorney is seeking $14 million in damages from the Ottobar’s liquor license holder and the owner of the building that houses the venue.  Sanchez’s complaint alleges “the Ottobar had no signs or warning notices that ‘stage diving’ and ‘crowd surfing’ could be dangerous and that there was no buffer between the crowd and the stage where stage diving and crowd surfing were taking place.”  In addition, the lawsuit alleges “the owners ‘encouraged and advertised such behavior…in an effort to attract young irresponsible adults to come pay a cover charge to engage in such behavior.’”  Sanchez and his attorney claim “[t]he Defendants encouraged, were aware of, and supported the acts of ‘stage diving’ and ‘crowd surfing,’ which is an inherently ultrahazardous and dangerous activity that Defendants knew, or should have known, was likely to result in serious injury or death.”

All patrons of the Ottobar (assuming they legally entered the building) are “business invitees,” which means the Ottobar owners owe all concertgoers at their venue a duty to use reasonable and ordinary care.  If the allegations about Defendants encouraging “stage diving” and “crowd surfing” are true, the Defendants breached their duty to use reasonable care.

This is not the first time the Ottobar has been sued for a “stage diving” incident.  In fact, in 2011, the Ottobar settled a case out of court involving a patron getting injured by a “stage diver.”  The Ottobar is not the only music venue facing litigation.  Venues all over the United States, including the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland, are facing similar actions due to crowd surfing injuries.

In order to recover in a personal injury case, whether its wrongful death or bodily injury, you must first prove “liability.”  In other words, you must prove the defendant was at fault or to blame for the accident.

The general term that is used in all injury cases is “negligence.”  A negligent act occurs when a party fails to take “reasonable care.”  Therefore, the lawyer’s job is to prove the defendant acted unreasonably given the circumstances.  

The burden of proof is on the plaintiff. In other words, if you were hurt you must show “more likely than not,” fifty one percent to forty nine percent, that the defendant acted unreasonably. In Maryland, that is where an experienced personal injury lawyer is a necessity. The top injury attorneys have seen many different fact patterns, defenses, and are aware of the danger of “contributory negligence.”  The attorney’s experience is necessary to overcome the liability hurtle and get damages.

If you or a family member has been injured or killed as a result of a Maryland personal injury and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information, please feel free to contact our office at (410) 995-1515 or visit us on the web at

Maryland Suspended License or Registration Attorney

Maryland Drivers With Unpaid Toll Violations Are at Risk for Having Registration Suspended

Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) warned drivers today to pay their toll violations or their vehicle registrations will be suspended or flagged for non-renewal.  There is an estimated $7.1 million in accumulated unpaid tolls in Maryland.  MdTA will begin sending letters to approximately 131,000 vehicle owners, “informing them they will have their vehicle registration blocked or yanked entirely if they don’t pay what they owe in tolls and associated citations.”  A majority of the toll violators lacked an E-ZPass device but went through specified E-ZPass lanes anyway.  Others arrived at tolls without any money and failed to follow directions for how to pay.

Last year, Maryland’s General Assembly passed legislation allowing the MdTA to “either suspend or block the renewal of those drivers’ registrations if they don’t pay up within 30 days.”  A majority of the 131,000 violators have unpaid tolls and civil penalties totaling less than $1,000 and will have their registrations flagged for nonrenewal if they fail to settle their debts.  However, there are approximately 9,000 drivers who owe more than $1,000 in tolls and civil penalties.  The MdTA said, “if they don’t pay, they will be referred to the MVA for immediate suspension of their registration.”

Drivers can contest the toll violations and civil citations in District Court if they believe an error has been made.
If you or a family member has a suspended license or vehicle registration and would like a free legal consultation please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 or visit us on the web at

Friday, November 14, 2014

Maryland Accident Lawyers Receive Highest Honors

We are thrilled to be nominated for such a high honor.

To read more on our nomination, visit:,

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident or sustained an injury as the result of someone elses negligence, please call us at (301) 854-9000 for a free consultation or visit us on the web at

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Failure to Diagnose Diabetes

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or call to speak with one of our experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorneys at (301) 854-9000 for a free consultation.

For more than 20 years, the attorneys of Portner & Shure have been pursuing the best interest of our clients in medical malpractice cases in Columbia, Maryland.  These medical malpractice claims involve:

  • birth injuries, including cerebral palsy

  • brain damage

  • misdiagnoses

  • medication overdose

  • surgical negligence

  • prescription errors

  • anesthesia negligence

  • wrongful death

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider causes injury or death to a patient by failing to act within the applicable standard of care.  Many Columbia, Maryland patients expect to receive the highest level of care and assume that their doctor's will take good care of them.  Doctors are also expected to be able to make a diagnosis or recommend appropriate treatment to a patient.  However, doctors misdiagnose illnesses and diseases far too often.  One common misdiagnosis is diabetes, where doctors fail to diagnose a patient with the condition and the patient is subjected to permanent injuries.  In order to prove malpractice, there had to have been a breach of the standard of care and/or a failure to obtain informed consent.  The attorneys at Portner & Shure possess excellent legal knowledge, in addition to being familiar with the health care profession and standards of treatment.

Diabetes is a serious condition affecting over 25 million people, with more than 8 out of every 100 people developing the disease.  Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which there are high bloof sugar levels.  If a doctor fails to diagnose it and it is left untreated, serious complications can occur including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations of toes, and even death.

In every case we handle, our attorneys and staff work with numerous physicians and other experts to strengthen our claims.  There are many factors that impact the value of a medical malpractice claim.  It is important that your attorney understands how to properly evaluate damages in order to determine the full value of a claim and build a strong case for the jury.  Common damages for medical malpractice cases include:

  • medical expenses

  • lost wages

  • pain and suffering

  • loss of consortium

  • wrongful death

Misdiagnoses can cause serious harm to a patient, and if an injury or death was caused through medical malpractice in Columbia, Maryland, an experienced attorney from Portner & Shure can help you get the compensation you are entitled.

If you or a family member is the victim of an injury caused by medical malpractice in Maryland, an experienced attorney from Portner & Shure can help you get the compensation you are entitled.  If you would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on medical malpractice please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 or visit us on the web at

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Important Distinctions for DUI/DWI in Frederick, Maryland

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or call to speak with one of our experienced Maryland auto accident attorneys at (301) 854-9000 for a free consultation.

Maryland is one of many states that have a "two-tiered" drinking and driving statute.  Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is the more serious offense.  If the defendant submits to a police-administered blood or breathalyzer alcohol test and the reading is 0.08 or higher there is a permissive inference that the driver was under the influence of alcohol.  A DUI is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.  Motor Vehicle Administration penalties can include the imposition of twelve points and it is possible that your driver's license can be revoked.

Driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI) is the lesser offense, contrary to public opinion where there is a common misconception that DWI is the more serious offense.  Where there is a blood or breathalyzer alcohol test that results in a blood alcohol reading of 0.07, it is considered prima facie evidence that the person is impaired by alcohol.  A DWI is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of two months in jail and/or a $500 fine.  Motor Vehicle Administration penalties can include the imposition of eight points and it is possible that your driver's license can be suspended.

Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test for alcohol after being arrested for drunk driving is admissible at trial.  However, a refusal to submit to the breath test is not admissible at trial.  In addition, the state can seek an enhanced penalty where it shows the defendant "knowingly refused the test" and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.  There is an enhanced maximum additional penalty of two months incarceration and/or a $500 fine.  Furthermore, the defendant's driver's license will be suspended for 120 days for a first offense and one year for any subsequent offense.  The defendant will be eligible for modifying the suspension or obtaining a restrictive license if he/she participates in the Ignition Interlock System Program.

If a defendant is convicted for DWI and is subsequently arrested for a second offense, that individual is subject to a fine no more than $500 and/or imprisonment up to one year.  If a defendant is convicted for DUI and is subsequently arrested for a second offense, that individual is subject to a fine of no more than $2,000 and/or imprisonment up to two years.

Those individuals injured by a drunk driver are given another potential avenue for compensation with "dram shop laws."  These laws exist in 43 states plus the District of Columbia.  Bars, restaurants, and other similar businesses can be held liable when a customer drives drunk and gets into a car accident.  However, Maryland is one of the few states that does not have a dram shop law.

Maryland's courts have held that police officers have grounds to test you if they detect just a "moderate odor" of alcohol.  Probable cause to arrest is not required before an officer requests a driver to take a field test to determine alcohol concentration.  A "moderate odor" of alcohol is now enough to give an officer "reasonable grounds" under the statute to suspect that a person is driving impaired.  An experienced and knowledgeable attorney is necessary to help defend someone who has been arrested as a result of an officer detecting a "moderate odor" of alcohol.

If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or DWI and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 or visit us on the web at