The Law Office of Edward E. Sharkey LLC is a firm of dedicated business and trial lawyers in Bethesda, MD who concentrate on business law and civil litigation.
Our business attorneys represent businesses and individuals throughout Maryland, Washington DC, and the United States in the areas of business and corporate law, commercial transactions, and civil litigation, including the litigation of business, contract, securities, pension, construction, and professional liability disputes.
Our corporate lawyers have the skill and experience to handle legal matters arising at every stage of the business life cycle, from start-up to dissolution, including the negotiation and documentation of business financing, commercial transactions, employment and non-compete agreements, sales, acquisitions, leases, and licenses.
On behalf of businesses and individuals, our trial lawyers litigate cases at all levels of federal and state court, as well as every major arbitral forum.
What makes us unique?
Our business lawyers represent some of the world's largest and best-known companies. We also, however, counsel start-ups and private businesses of all sizes. Our clients benefit from our training and experience with the most sophisticated matters, but because we are a smaller firm, they enjoy a higher level of attention and more economical fees than large firms provide.
Our business lawyers also have a depth of experience in both transactional and trial work. This is uncommon, and we foster that breadth of experience. Why does this benefit our clients? A corporate lawyer can best protect a client's interest if the lawyer knows how transactions and companies unravel during disputes. Similarly, a trial lawyer can best resolve conflict for a client if the lawyer understands the rights and obligations arising from the relevant documents. Our breadth of experience also means that business clients meet most of their legal needs by partnering with our firm.
Our Bethesda, MD based business attorneys assist clients in Maryland, Washington DC, and nationwide.
When a company stores its customers’ personally identifiable information (“PII”) in an electronic database, the company has a duty to guard that information with reasonable care. PII can be a name, address, phone number, Social Security number, or other information by which an individual may be identified or contacted. Businesses have been sued when the inadvertent dissemination of customers’ PII has led to identity theft.
In any lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove causation and damages. That is, the data breach must be proven to be the cause of some harm suffered by the plaintiff. Courts have dismissed data breach lawsuits when the plaintiff can allege no more than that identity theft occurred shortly after the data breach. A new case in the 11th Circuit, however, has shown plaintiffs a novel way to pursue data breach lawsuits, even if they cannot prove damages.
In some circumstances, the ADA compels a business to reasonably accommodate an employee with a disability. It can be difficult for a business to determine whether a requested accommodation is "reasonable." For example, we recently posted about a dispute concerning the reasonableness of a request for medical leave.
Another request an employer may have to consider is one for reassignment to a vacant position that would otherwise be filled by a competitive hiring process. Unfortunately, the courts have not yet given employers consistent guidance on how to respond to such requests.
Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the passage of the JOBS Act, which contained provisions intended to legalize equity crowdfunding in the United States. The celebration was blemished by the fact that the SEC’s rules are more than three months late, and until they are issued, equity crowdfunding remains illegal.
Wednesday morning, in perhaps the biggest development in equity crowdfunding since the JOBS Act, Mary Jo White was sworn in as the newest Chairwoman of the SEC. This is good news for crowdfunding advocates, small businesses, and startups.
As the use of cell phones has become commonplace, so has the knowledge that it is dangerous to use a cell phone while driving. In many states, including Maryland, it is illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving. Maryland, like most other states, also made it illegal for drivers to text message. Although aware of the danger of cell phone use while driving, most employers have no policy against doing it while on the job. A verdict recently returned by a jury in Texas shows that such a failure exposes employers to liability.
For the past 30 years, Ralph Lauren and the U.S. Polo Association (“USPA”) have been fighting over the logo of a polo player. In 1984, USPA won a judgment giving it the right to sell merchandise with a “double horsemen” logo. The logo is similar, but not identical, to Ralph Lauren’s trademarked polo player logo. In that case, the judge ruled that the word “polo” was generic enough for use by competitors, as long as USPA did not emphasize it in its marketing or design. He also ruled that USPA’s logo was distinct enough from Ralph Lauren’s that it would not cause confusion as to the source of the product or service offered.
The importance of implementing a proper litigation hold when a business has notice that a lawsuit is likely was highlighted again in a recent decision (pages 17-18) issued by a Federal District Court in New Jersey. In the case, the judge awarded expenses to the plaintiff because the defendant failed to properly implement a litigation hold once the lawsuit started. The defendant's errors included failing to disable the automatic delete function on its email server and not preserving copies of its backup tapes.
In some circumstances, federal law requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee with a disability. It can be difficult for an employer to determine what "reasonable" means. The United States District Court for the District of Maryland recently opined that an indefinite period of medical leave is not a reasonable accommodation. Accordingly, the ADA does not require an employer to grant an employee with a disability an indefinite period of leave.