Alan Rifkin, Jamie Katz and the Sports Law, Gaming and Facilities group led the effort for the authorization and funding of the Baltimore Orioles spring training facilities, including the Ed Smith stadium and Twin Lakes complex in Sarasota, Florida. They also negotiated the Baltimore Orioles’ spring training facilities lease with Sarasota County, Florida.
In 2019/2020, RWL managing partner Alan Rifkin, Jamie Katz and the Sport Law, Gaming and Facilities group (on behalf of our clients the Maryland Jockey Club, The Stronach Group and the Preakness Stakes®) led a negotiating team, which included representatives from the City of Baltimore, Anne Arundel County and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, who came up with a plan to help save Maryland’s historic thoroughbred horse racing industry and create a $375 million public/private partnership for the rebuilding of Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park. Those negotiations led to drafting and enactment of the Racing and Community Development Act of 2020, which was shepherded through the legislative process by RWL’s Government Relations and Lobbying practice group led by Mike Johansen, the firm’s administrative partner.
Alan Rifkin, Celeste Bruce, Jamie Katz and the Sports Law, Gaming and Facilities group represented the Baltimore Orioles in its negotiations with Major League Baseball concerning compensation for the Orioles in connection with the relocation of the Washington Nationals to Washington, D.C. Managing partner Alan Rifkin was the lead negotiator with Bob DuPuy, the President of MLB in the discussions, along with Celeste Bruce and Jamie Katz. The settlement with MLB and the Nationals included protection of the Orioles’ Home Television Territory and the formation and development of the Mid-Atlantic Sport Network (MASN®), the regional sports network for the Orioles and Nationals.
Chuck Fax, Liesel Schopler and RWL’s Class Action Litigation group were co-lead plaintiffs’ class counsel in Chambers, et al. v. Whirlpool, et al., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140839 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 11, 2016), a successful nationwide class action lawsuit filed against Whirlpool Corporation and Sears Roebuck concerning alleged defectively designed dishwashers that could lead to combustion/fires. In an Opinion issued by Federal Judge Fernando Olguin: “The results obtained by class counsel are impressive. Achieving these results undoubtedly took …the most capable and experienced professionals in the country….” In re: Chambers, et al. v. Whirlpool Corp., et al., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140839 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 11, 2016)
On October 26, 2023, Stuart Cherry of RWL’s Complex Commercial and Civil Litigation group led a team that defeated a zoning appeal before the St. Mary’s County Board of Appeals. The appellants sought to classify a septic permit for a 52,000 square foot cannabis growth facility in Abell, Maryland as an expansion of a nonconforming use. By defeating the appeal, client Seven Points Agro-Therapeutics, LLC will be able to fully operate its cannabis grow house facility. The team also included Geoffrey Washington and Devon Harman of RWL and co-counsel Peter Hershey of Rich & Henderson.
Arnold Weiner, Michael Berman, Alan Rifkin, Barry Gogel and RWL’s Complex Commercial and Civil Litigation group successfully defended Maryland’s cannabis program in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and administrative program established by statute. The case involved both trial court and appellate proceedings. Alternative Medicine Maryland, LLC v. Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, et al., No. 24-C-16-005801 (Circ.Ct.Balt.City)
Arnold Weiner was lead counsel for the case of Devan v. Ernst and Young, which settled for $185 million. In Devan v. Ernst and Young, Deborah H. Devan, the Chapter 7 Trustee for Merry-Go-Round Enterprises, alleged the accounting firm engaged in duplicity and provided bad advice while providing turnaround accounting services. The lawsuit accused Ernst and Young of concealing its relationship with Washington D.C. law firm Swidler & Berlin, which had recommended Ernst and Young as the turnaround adviser. Swidler & Berlin represented the accounting firm in a West Virginia lawsuit at the time. The assertion was also made that Ernst and Young assigned junior personnel who gave incompetent advice. At the time of the settlement, experts believed it to be the first case to assign liability to a consultant hired to manage the turnaround of a bankrupt company. After settling that case, Ernst and Young hired Arnold Weiner and his partners to represent Ernst and Young in its suit against Swidler & Berlin.
In 2005, Arnold Weiner, Celeste Bruce, Barry Gogel, Alan Rifkin and both the Sport Law, Gaming and Facilities and Complex Commercial and Civil Ligitation practice groups successfully defended the Baltimore Orioles and TCR Sports Broadcasting Holding against a lawsuit by Comcast SportsNet, which claimed a right of first refusal for the telecast rights of the Baltimore Orioles. Dismissal of the case affirmed the Orioles’ right to operate the regional sports network now known as the Mid Atlantic Sports Network (MASN®). Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic L.P. v. Baltimore Orioles L.P., et al., No. 260751-V (Md. Cir. Court for Montgomery County 2005) (affirmed, 391 Md. 577 (2006))
Joel Rozner and RWL’s Government Relations and Lobbying practice group successfully assisted Orsted Offshore North America, the world’s largest offshore wind developer and developer of the world’s first offshore wind farm in 1991. RWL originally represented Deepwater Wind which was subsequently purchased by Orsted. In 2017, Maryland’s Public Service Commission approved Skipjack 1’s application to build a 120-megawatt project and in December of 2021, the Commission approved Orsted’s application to build an additional 760 megawatts of offshore wind. Combined, these projects will generate thousands of jobs and provide hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy of Maryland including commitments to the port of Baltimore and economic development for the Eastern Shore.
Brad Rifkin, Patrick Roddy and RWL’s Government Relations and Lobbying group successfully assisted Maryland’s alcohol manufacturing industry, in-state wineries, breweries, and distilleries to navigate the complex political and legislative hurdles of Maryland’s three-tier alcohol system. Those efforts include granting the industry direct shipping rights, self-distribution rights, on and off-premise rights, tax relief and direct industry funding. Recently, RWL spearheaded the successful overhaul of Maryland’s restrictive franchise laws which, dating back to 1974, all but locked Maryland’s craft breweries into a perpetual business relationship with their wholesaler.
Alan Rifkin, Michael Berman, Stuart Cherry, Barry Gogel and RWL’s Complex Commercial and Civil Ligitation group represented the Harford County Council in 2022 to successfully defend its redistricting plan after suit was filed alleging violations of Maryland’s Open Meetings Act and other matters. The redistricting plan is now in effect.
Scott Livingston, Stuart Cherry and RWL’s Complex Commercial and Civil Litigation group successfully reversed a decision of the Stage One Medical Cannabis Processor License by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, allowing RWL’s client Zia Integrated, LLC to proceed with an award. The full Commission thereafter voted to adopt the magistrate’s decision and awarded a Stage One license to Zia.
Alan Rifkin and RWL’s Sports Law, Gaming and Facilities group represented the Maryland Jockey Club and the Preakness Stakes® in negotiations with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert with respect to entry of horses under Mr. Baffert’s control in the 2021 Preakness® after doping allegations were made concerning Medina Spirit, the presumptive winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
Celeste Bruce, Alan Rifkin and RWL’s Complex Commercial and Civil Litigation practice group successfully represented the widow of one of the U.S. Postal workers who died as a result of contact with the now-infamous “anthrax letters” mailed to the United States Congress.
Arnold Weiner’s successful representation of Tartan Stable in the 1980 Preakness Stakes® has been noted in a new book by Jack Gilden, “The Fast Ride – Spectacular Bid and the Undoing of a Sure Thing” (Neb. Press, 2022). Arnold represented Tartan Stable, the owner of the racehorse Codex in a challenge of the 1980 Preakness Stakes® brought by the owners of the racehorse Genuine Risk. “After the race, Jacinto claimed foul and said that Cordero had interfered with his horse by whipping her in the face with his crop. The stewards upheld Cordero’s victory, but the case went to court anyway. Cordero’s brilliant Baltimore lawyer, Arnold Weiner, widely hailed as one of the very best barristers in the country, successfully argued from photographic evidence that Angel was too far away from Genuine Risk to have impeded her in any way. Weiner won the case, and Codex’s victory was assured.”
In 2009, Arnold Weiner and Barry Gogel defended Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon in a criminal case alleging 12 felony and misdemeanor counts, including perjury, theft, and misconduct. The charges stem partly from incidents in which she allegedly misappropriated gift cards intended for the poor. Arnold and Barry secured dismissal the majority of the counts at the close of the State’s case and acquittal of all of the felony counts. On December 1, 2009, the jury returned a “guilty” verdict on one misdemeanor count of fraudulent misappropriation. Arnold and Barry negotiated a plea deal where Sheila Dixon received probation before judgment without any criminal conviction. She served no jail time and was able to run for mayor six years later.
As Chief Counsel and Legislative Officer to Governor William Donald Schaefer, Alan Rifkin led the effort to authorize and fund the Camden Yards project, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards.