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Arguing Before the D.C. Court of Appeals – Eyewitness Identification
11/9/2014 11:44:57 AM

On November 4 I appeared on behalf of my client at an oral argument before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which is D.C.’s equivalent of a state supreme court.  At issue was exclusion of expert testimony about the accuracy of witness identification.
   

Overtime Collective Action Certified in Maryland
5/14/2014 8:21:32 PM

Working closely with the excellent attorneys at The Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and acting on behalf of two of my clients, I recently succeeded in having the United States District Court for the District of Maryland certify a collective action in a case which accuses a company and its managers of failing to pay overtime pursuant to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

Super Lawyers Honors Matthew B Kaplan a DC "Rising Star"
4/29/2014 11:28:18 AM

I have been selected to the 2014 Washington DC Rising Stars list of distinguished attorneys by Super Lawyers Magazine. 

Joining the Maryland Bar
5/6/2013 3:26:35 PM

I just learned that I passed the Maryland “Attorneys’ Bar,” which is obviously good news.  The Attorney’s Bar is a shortened bar exam that Maryland offers attorneys who have been practicing more than five years.  I am glad to have that behind me—it has been almost ten years since I have taken a test that was graded.  As soon as I am sworn in to the Maryland Bar I will be licensed to practice in the three DC area jurisdictions:  DC, Maryland and Virginia.  That will allow me to better serve my clients, especially those with claims arising in Maryland.
New Employment Law and Defamation Case
3/31/2013 9:00:08 PM

I currently represent the former senior official the Alexandria (Virginia) City Public Schools (“ACPS”) in an employment law lawsuit against ACPS.  The lawsuit alleges that my client was discriminated against based on his race and national origin and that he was fired from his job when, in compliance with the school system’s own procedures, he filed an internal complaint about this discrimination.  It is, of course, entirely illegal to fire an employee for making a good faith effort to seek the protections against discrimination which are guaranteed by law and by the Fourteenth Amended to the Constitution.  The lawsuit also alleges that ACPS’ superintendent subsequently defamed my client by making false statements about the reason for my client’s departure from ACPS.

Rising Star
2/28/2013 6:53:10 PM
I recently learned that  Super Lawyers magazine had put me on its 2013 list of Virginia attorneys who the magazine has identified as "Rising Stars."  Not much to say about that, except that I am obviously pleased to receive that designation.

Virginia Court of Appeals Agrees to Review Important Decision on Constitutional Rights
10/23/2012 4:10:56 PM

The Virginia Court of Appeals today granted a petition that I filed on behalf of my client, Felecia Amos, asking for a rehearing en banc of the Court’s decision in the Amos v. Commonwealth case.  The Court of Appeals’ initial ruling in the case, which was issued in August by a three judge panel of the Court before Ms. Amos hired me to represent her, upheld an Arlington County Circuit Court judge’s order sentencing Ms. Amos to ten days in jail for supposedly lying about her husband’s violations of a protective order.  The Circuit Court judge convicted and sentenced Ms. Amos for criminal contempt of court, but he denied her the most basic due process—Ms. Amos was not charged with a crime before she was convicted, she was not allowed to have an attorney and she was given no opportunity to present any evidence or even to saying anything in her defense.  In the petition that I filed I argued that this denial of Ms. Amos’ due process rights was a clear violation of the United States Constitution. 
New DC Superior Court Debt Collection Practice Ignores the Law
9/30/2012 11:49:02 AM

In litigating throughout the country over the last decade, I have found that courts and court clerks sometimes impose their own practices on litigants, practices not supported by, and sometimes directly in conflict with, relevant law, including the court’s own formal rules.  A new procedure recently adopted by the DC Superior Court clerk’s office is a good example—the procedure reduces the clerk’s workload, but it violates the law. 
Due Process in Virginia: Amos v. Commonwealth
8/22/2012 12:02:25 AM
Think you have the right to basic due process—such as the right to have an attorney, the right to have notice of the charges against you, the right to gather evidence in your favor and to speak in your defense—before you can be convicted of a crime?  Not in Virginia, at least according to Amos v. Commonwealth, issued earlier this month by the Virginia Court of Appeals. 
Virginia Class Actions
8/16/2012 5:49:53 PM

I am often contacted by potential clients and fellow attorneys about pursuing possible class actions in Virginia.  Most are unaware of a unique hurdle for potential Virginia class action plaintiffs: Virginia’s prohibition on class actions in state court.  Class actions are, however, permitted in Virginia’s federal courts.
Problems With the DC Courts' Website
7/17/2012 11:21:36 PM

For some inexplicable reason the DC courts’ website (www.dccourts.gov) is not properly indexed by Google or Bing. Although searches related to the DC courts will pull up hits on both Bing and Google that point to specific web pages on the DC courts’ website, these hits usually point to pages on the court system’s old website, a site that has not existed for years.
Do not ignore a lawsuit!!
6/24/2012 2:48:11 PM

Many issues surrounding litigation are complicated.  But there is one straightforward, uncomplicated rule that applies to all lawsuits anywhere—if you are sued do not ignore the lawsuit!!  No matter how ridiculous the lawsuit seems or how much you do not want to pay for an attorney, you must respond to avoid a default judgment.  This rule may be obvious to many, but, it is ignored by untold numbers of individuals and small businesses every year.  Following this rule is especially important in Virginia, where it is easy to get a default judgment and especially difficult to have such a judgment set aside.
Virginia Landlords Are Not Responsible for Safety of their Tenants According to Virginia Supreme Court
6/11/2012 6:28:51 PM

A just released Virginia Supreme Court decision will further Virginia’s reputation as a landlord-friendly jurisdiction.  In the case, Steward v. Holland Family Properties, LLC, the state’s highest court upheld a lower court ruling that a landlord was not liable for severe injuries to a child of tenants who rented a single-family home.  The child had ingested lead from peeling lead paint in the home.

Securities Fraud: Questioning the Logic of a Criminal Investigation of J.P. Morgan
5/16/2012 9:37:00 PM

Press reports indicate that the FBI and the Department of Justice are investigating the huge trading losses at J.P. Morgan Chase. As an attorney who has spent much of his career suing large corporations and financial institutions for securities fraud I have no particular love for J.P. Morgan. But the FBI’s involvement in the case may reflect a troubling trend to criminalize business conduct that gives rise to civil liability, but that probably should not be criminalized.

Real Estate Closings in New York
4/29/2012 7:34:58 PM

This weekend’s New York Times has an interesting article on residential real estate closings in New York City. 
NPR Story on Important Internet Defamation Case
4/18/2012 10:14:31 AM
NPR’s On the Media program has an interesting story on the Crystal Cox case, in which a blogger was held liable for defamation because of her online statements about a bankruptcy trustee.  
Virginia Supreme Court Says Default Judgment Can be Entered Against Defendant Who Knows Nothing Of Lawsuit
4/17/2012 2:09:04 PM
The message of a somewhat surprising recent Virginia Supreme Court decision, Specialty Hospitals Of Washington v. Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, Inc., is clear:  anyone sued in a Virginia court had better file a timely response to the lawsuit—whether or not they actually know that they have been sued. 
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