Maryland Legal Alert for Financial Services

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Maryland Legal Alert - January 2022








Maryland Minimum Interest Rate for Escrow and Special Purpose Accounts Increases

Maryland law requires depository institutions doing business in Maryland that make first lien residential real property loans and maintain escrow accounts for those loans to pay a minimum rate of interest on those escrow accounts.

Maryland law also requires Maryland-chartered banks that offer certain short-term “special purpose” deposit accounts (for example, Christmas Club accounts) to pay a minimum rate of interest on those deposit accounts.

The minimum rate of interest on these accounts is based on the weekly average yield of U.S. Treasury Securities adjusted to a constant maturity of one year as of the first business day of the calendar year as published in the Federal Reserve Board’s “Selected Interest Rates” table H.15.

Because the Federal Reserve Board’s H.15 table no longer includes a “weekly average yield” for the selected one-year securities, many institutions look to the weekly average yield interest rate data posted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (using the H.15 daily rate information).

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis displays a 0.37% weekly average yield for U.S. Treasury Securities adjusted to a constant maturity of one year (reflecting the weekly average yield for the weekly period ending on December 31, 2021, as posted on January 3, 2022). The 2021 weekly average yield was 0.11%.

Please contact Christopher R. Rahl if you have any questions about this topic.

Contact Christopher R. Rahl | 410-576-4222

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OSHA Issues COVID-19 ‘Vaccination or Test’ Rule for Employers with 100 or More Employees

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can now implement and enforce its “Vaccination or Test” Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) despite the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit on December 17, 2021, dissolved the stay issued by an earlier court decision against OSHA’s enforcement of the ETS.

Several of the key implementation deadlines set forth in the ETS have already passed. In that regard, OSHA states on its website:

To account for any uncertainty created by the stay, OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion with respect to the compliance dates of the ETS. To provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance, OSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10 and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before February 9, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard. OSHA will work closely with the regulated community to provide compliance assistance.

The plaintiffs in the litigation appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court who has agreed to hear oral arguments in the case during a special session on January 7, 2022. The Court will address only whether the vaccination mandate should be preliminarily enjoined pending further litigation in the lower courts. Since the Court accepted this appeal on an emergency basis, a decision is expected to be issued relatively soon.

In the interim, employers covered by the mandate should promptly resume taking steps to comply with the mandate. Please see our full article concerning this topic here.

For additional information on the impact of the coronavirus, visit our information hub for a list of up-to-date content.

If you have questions about the ETS or what steps to take next, please contact Charles R. Bacharach.

Contact Charles R. Bacharach | 410-576-4169

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Use a Link to Another’s Website; Do Not Copy Its Material

Most people — hopefully — understand that copying material from another’s website and pasting it into your own is probably copyright infringement. While there may be defenses, such as fair use, there is a safer way to go — but an uncertain nuance to that safer way. Instead of copying someone else’s material, the best solution is to include in your own site a link to the website, or specific URL, where the other material is located. This applies to articles, photographs, music and any other type of content. The actual content is subject to copyright; a link has no protectable features. The nuance is when those hesitant about sending a reader to a different website decide to embed or frame the third-party material within their own website. It is unclear whether this available technology — which allows a user to see one entity’s content while on a different entity’s website — creates copyright infringement. This method of embedding or framing has been accepted by some Federal courts as not infringing, because the content remains on the server of the original website and is not copied to the server of the newer website. However, a different court more recently found that this “server rule” may not shield this type of linking from copyright infringement. Until the various appellate courts are in alignment, it is safer to provide a link to a third party’s site, and not embed or frame the material. It certainly is prudent not to use someone else’s content on your own website. It is even safer to “deep link” using the URL where you know the material originated so as not to contribute to someone accessing infringing material.

If you have any questions concerning this topic, please contact Ned. T. Himmelrich.

Contact Ned T. Himmelrich | 410-576-4171

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New Virginia Law Shortens Statute of Limitations for Judgments

With the calendar turning over to a new year, now is generally a good time to review whether any new laws will be going into effect. One new law that should be on Virginia creditors’ minds concerns the statute of limitations period for judgments entered in Virginia’s circuit courts.

Under prior law, a judgment entered in a Virginia circuit court was effective for 20 years, and the judgment creditor could extend the expiration date another 20 years (one or more times, without limitation) if requested before the judgment expired.

Under the new Virginia law that became effective January 1, 2022, judgments entered in a Virginia circuit court after July 1, 2021, have a 10-year limitations period and may only be extended up to two additional 10-year periods, for a maximum limitations period of 30 years. Judgments entered before July 1, 2021, retain the original 20-year limitations period but may only be extended up to two additional 10-year periods.

The new law also revises the process for obtaining an extension of the limitations period. Instead of filing a motion, the judgment creditor must now file a “Certificate of Extension” in the form prescribed by the new law. Note that the extended 10-year periods run from the date that the judgment creditor records the Certificate of Extension, not the date that the original limitations period was set to expire.

For any questions concerning this topic, please contact Bryan M. Mull.

Contact Bryan M. Mull | 410-576-4227

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