By: Patricia McHugh Lambert, Member, PK Law
The following is a list of new legislation that may impact those interested in liability issues and insurance practices.
Special Causes of Action
Statutes of Limitations Child Sexual Abuse
The Maryland General Assembly enacted House Bill 642 which alters the statute of limitations and institutes a statute of repose for claims involving sexual abuse. Such claims must be filed within the later of 20 years after the date on which the victim reaches the age of majority or 3 years after the date that the defendant is convicted of a crime relating to the alleged incident or incidents, as specified. House Bill 642 establishes a “statute of repose” for claims against a person or governmental entity that is not the alleged perpetrator for damages arising out of an alleged incident or incidents of sexual abuse that occurred while the victim was a minor. This statute of repose prohibits a person from filing an action more than 20 years after the date on which the victim reaches the age of majority.
False Claims -Municipal Corporations
The Maryland False Claims Act prohibits a person from knowingly making a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval by a governmental entity and establishes civil penalties for making a false claim. Private citizens can, under certain circumstance, file such claims. Senate Bill 26 (passed) expands the definition of “governmental entity” under FCA to include a municipal corporation.
New Vehicle Laws
House Bill 1017 (passed) alters the standards and procedures related to the expungement of public driving records by the MVA so that certain records, which currently require an application for expungement, are expunged automatically.
Passing to the Right
There are now circumstances, such as those described in House Bill 1456, that authorizes a driver of a vehicle to overtake and pass to the right of another vehicle by driving outside of the marked lane onto the shoulder. These include when the vehicle being passed is making or about to make a left turn and the passing driver can pass on the shoulder without leaving the paved road surface.
Mold Remediation Service Providers
Senate Bill 183/ House Bill 115 (Chs.56 and 100) extend the deadline by which a company or firm providing mold remediation services must be licensed by MHIC from July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2019.
Homeowner’s Insurance-Electronic Notes
Senate Bill 279/House Bill 291 (Chs. 124 and 123) authorize a homeowner’s insurer to deliver some (but not all) offers, notices, and statements to an insured or applicant for a homeowner’s insurance policy using electronic means if the insurer complies with requirements for notices delivered by electronic means.
Premium Increase Based on Change in Marital Status:
Senate Bill 534/House Bill 916 (both passed) prohibits an insurer from increasing the private passenger automobile insurance premium for an insured who becomes a surviving spouse based solely on the insured’s change in marital status.
Maryland Personal Information Protection Act
Maryland residents, like those of other states, may be the victims of identity theft. In 2016, Maryland residents reported 8,251 instances of identity theft. Because of this problem, House Bill 974 expands the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act (MPIPA) to impose additional duties on a business to protect an individual’s personal information. These duties include requiring a business to take reasonable steps to protect the information of employees or former employees when a business is destroying records that contain personal information. Personal information includes insurance information, certain identification numbers, certain passwords, and fingerprints and other biometric data. A business that does not comply with the act faces statutory and other penalties.
Patricia McHugh Lambert has over 35 years of experience in handling complex commercial litigation and insurance matters. Ms. Lambert has worked on national class actions, significant litigation and regulatory matters for Fortune 500 companies. She has also assisted small and mid-sized companies and business executives with contract, real estate and commercial disputes that needed to be resolved quickly and efficiently. Ms. Lambert is best known as an attorney who knows the field of insurance. She has represented insurers, policyholders, and insurance producers in disputes both in court and before the Maryland Insurance Administration. Ms. Lambert can be contacted at 410-339-6759 and firstname.lastname@example.org.