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Dolina Hobbs, LLC
82 W Washington St, Suite 200, Hagerstown, MD 21740 [Map]
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Case Summaries

Employment/Non-Compete (2017)

Phoenix Health Center, LLC v. Main Place Addiction Treatment Centers, LLC, et al.

Plaintiff sued for injunctive relief for hiring an employee under a covenant not to compete, ultimately leading to an Order entered in favor of our client.

Employment/Non-Compete (2017)

Phoenix Health Center, LLC v. Metro Treatment of Maryland, L.P. t/a Hagerstown Treatment Center, et al.

Plaintiff sued two employees and a competitor company after the employees violated covenants not to compete with the Plaintiff. An Order was entered against the employees in favor of Phoenix.

The Defendant employees filed an additional claim against Phoenix under the Fair Labor Standards Act for overtime wages. Ultimately, their claims were dismissed. The employees were salaried with positions as counselors in training. Phoenix argued that they were “learned professionals” and therefore exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The “learned professional” exemption is fairly nuanced.

Under 29 C.F.R. § 541.301, to fall under the learned professional exemption, “ an employee's primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.”

The three elements of the primary duty test are:

(1) The employee must perform work requiring advanced knowledge;

(2) The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and

(3) The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

Application of the primary duty test can prove complex. For example, in Levine v. Unity Health Sys., 847 F. Supp. 2d 507 (2012),  the United States District Court for the Western District of New York found that primary therapists were exempt under the exception because, in order to do their work, the therapists were required to obtain specific credentials. The therapists argued that their primary duties did not require knowledge in an advanced field because they were unable to make medical diagnoses, had limited input into treatment plans, and could not implement treatment plans by themselves. They stated that, at most, they prepared initial assessments from which doctors or psychiatrists could make diagnoses, and made suggestions to doctors and psychiatrists about treatment plans. They emphasized that their authority was limited to assessment and proposal, and that their suggestions could be altered, rejected or even ignored by treating physicians and psychiatrists, or overruled by supervisors at weekly meetings. The therapists contended that their lack of authority to make diagnoses or dictate treatment plans took them out of the realm of “learned professional.”

The Court disagreed. The Court found that the therapist’s primary duties consisted of making assessments of patients’ mental conditions, identifying specific clinical problems, devising plans of action specific to each patient based on those assessments, coordinating with therapists, specialists, and health care providers to identify and incorporate the resources required for the treatment plan, and individually leading group, individual, family, and/or crisis psychotherapy sessions. While their job duties also included administrative tasks, such as completing necessary paperwork, the primary duty and purpose of the therapist position was to assess patients, help develop appropriate treatment plans, and administer therapy directly to patients. These tasks were performed with little oversight, and of necessity, required reliance on the therapist’s own independent judgment.  The Court therefore found that the primary duties of the therapists, including leadership of group therapy sessions and assessing patients’ medical conditions and needs, manifestly required the exercise of professional judgment and knowledge of an advanced type, typically requiring a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

In additional to the learned professional exemption, there are other exemptions from overtime compensation requirements under FLSA, including:

(1) Administrative;

(2) Executive;

(3) Outside Sales;

(4) Highly Compensated; and

(5) Computer Employees.

This summary is not intended to provide legal advice. If you have questions about Wage and Hour issues as an employee or an employer, please call our office at 301-739-1013, or email me directly at

Negligence/Wrongful Death (2016)

A.M. as Personal Representative to the Estate of C.E., and A.E.E.V.

On January 25, 2016, a few days after a local snowstorm, an individual was fatally struck by a sheet of falling ice from a high rise building in downtown Baltimore. Our office represented the decedent’s mother and the estate in litigation against the building owners and the building developers, presenting theories of liability including design defect and negligent maintenance and/or warning. It was difficult to factually pinpoint the exact origin of the ice accumulation and our clients would have faced considerable pre-trial motions. Despite these demanding issues, our clients received a favorable settlement prior to trial.

Auto Accident - $750,000 Judgment (2016)

New v. Burgwald
Circuit Court for Frederick County

Plaintiff is forced to turn his car off the road after Defendant driver speeds around a left turn and over the divider line. Plaintiff strikes an embankment and sustains serious and permanent bodily injuries, including paralysis. At trial, Plaintiff is awarded a $750,000 judgment.

Auto Accident/Wrongful Death - $505,000 Settlement (2014)

Denise Baez, et al v. Stephen Bonafede
Circuit Court for Washington County

Plaintiff, her minor child, and boyfriend are involved in an auto accident. The accident results in substantial injuries to Plaintiff and her child. It also results in the death of Plaintiff’s boyfriend. Settlement funds were allocated with Plaintiff, her minor child, and parents of the decedent. Dolina Hobbs settled the case in mediation for $505,000. The defendants paid the full policy of $500,000, and the defendant paid an additional $5,000, although he was incarcerated at the time.

Adult Disability Center; Negligence - $450,000 Settlement (2015)

Plaintiff v. Adult Disability Center
Circuit Court for Baltimore City

Woman suffering from cerebral palsy and mental retardation is a program participant at an Adult Disability Center. Woman is sexually assaulted by another program participant and becomes pregnant, later giving birth to a child. The Adult Disability Center knew of previous instances of sexual interaction among its participants, including the woman. Additionally, the woman had made several allegations that other participants had touched her inappropriately, to which the center took no action. The Plaintiff in this case was the woman's mother and legal guardian. In a civil suit against the Adult Disability Center, the Plaintiff reached a settlement for $450,000.

Slip & Fall/Premises Liability - $317,500 Settlement (2015)

Dennis Hamby v. General Motors Corporation, el al.
Circuit Court for Berkley County, West Virginia

Plaintiff slipped and fell on a patch of ice while at work which resulted in serious injury. After Defendants denied liability, the case was set in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Dolina Hobbs settled the case for over $300,000 less than a month later.

Crane Accident - $255,000 Settlement (2015)

Peyton v. Crane Company
Circuit Court for Baltimore City

Plaintiff is an employee of Crane Operational Services. Crane Operational Services purchases a new truck-based crane designed for the inspection and maintenance of bridges and highway overpasses. Plaintiff, a well-trained and experience crane operator, is instructed by Defendant to serve as the platform operator at a work site. When Plaintiff moves the platform into place, the frame rails, supports, and other components buckle and fail. The section of the platform that Plaintiff was standing on breaks free, causing Plaintiff to free fall. He sustains serious injuries to his shoulder. After the filing of a lawsuit, an expert was hired to analyze the crane's structural defects. This case ultimately settled for $255,000 in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Boating Collision - $130,000 Settlement (2017)

Skeans v. Defendant
U.S. District Court District of Maryland Northern Division

Plaintiff is operating his boat on the Bush River in Harford County, Maryland. Because his boat is too large to fit under the Amtrak Bridge, he drops anchor and waits for the bridge to open the following morning at 8 a.m. He then retires to his cabin and falls asleep. Defendant, severely intoxicated, is driving his boat toward the Amtrak Bridge. Not paying attention to his surroundings, Defendant causes his boat to collide with the Plaintiff's boat, where Plaintiff is still sleeping. Plaintiff is violently thrown from his bed onto the floor, where he sustains serious and painful injuries. Plaintiff went on to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Brought up on criminal charges, Defendant was ultimately found guilty of Operating a Vessel While Impaired by Alcohol. Plaintiff filed a civil suit against the Defendant, which settled for $130,00.

Employment/Breach of Contract - Permanent Injunction (2016)

Phoenix Health Center v. Main Place Addiction Treatment Centers
Circuit Court for Washington County

Plaintiff operates a business employing medical professionals to treat patients who are medication dependent and/or suffer from addiction. Plaintiff has its employees sign restrictive agreements, a common practice in the industry. These agreements are meant to protect employers in a number of different ways when their employees leave to work competitors. Defendant is a business competitor of Plaintiff who begins poaching Plaintiff's employees in violation of their restrictive agreements. In the Circuit Court for Washington County, Maryland, Plaintiff was granted a Permanent Injunction. This means that the Defendant was restrained from interfering with Plaintiff and its employees any further.

Employment Dispute - Great Result for Employee

Doe v. Hospital

Employment dispute involving employer misconduct followed by an employee (Plaintiff) blowing the whistle. Initially, Plaintiff was being disciplined for her conduct. Plaintiff got a deal allowing him to be relocated within the company to an administrative position with greater job security. He was also given an increase in pay.

Auto Accident - $200,000+ Settlement (2016)

Hooper v. Geico & Nationwide
Circuit Court for Baltimore County

Plaintiff is passenger in vehicle which is rear-ended by Defendant. Plaintiff is tossed about as the vehicle swerves uncontrollably before coming to a rest on the shoulder. Plaintiff's injuries are minor, including tinnitus inclusion in the ear, which is totally subjective in terms of diagnosis. However, Plaintiff ultimately collects over $200,000.

The Defendant in this case did not have insurance. The vehicle in which Plaintiff was a passenger was insured by GEICO. GEICO breached its contract to Plaintiff by failing to pay his uninsured motorist claim. Additionally, Plaintiff himself was an Insured under a policy of Nationwide. Nationwide's policy provided, among other things, uninsured motorist coverage that would be available to cover damages caused by the negligence of an uninsured motorist (which Defendant was). Nationwide, like GEICO, breached its contract to Plaintiff by failing to pay his uninsured motorist claim. Plaintiff ultimately collected over $200,000.

Auto Accident - $150,000 Settlement (2015)

Hudson v. Fox
Circuit Court for Baltimore County

Plaintiff is an on-duty police officer for the Baltimore County Police Department. Plaintiff observes standing water blocking travel on the highway, which poses a safety hazard to oncoming drivers. Plaintiff activates his sirens and his emergency lights and parks his vehicle across the lanes of the highway. Defendant, failing to observe Plaintiff's car, crashes into the driver's side of the Plaintiff's vehicle. Plaintiff sustains serious and permanent injuries. The case settled for $150,000.

Auto Accident - $100,000 Settlement (2016)

Friend v. Bryant
Circuit Court for Washington County

Plaintiff is driving home at approximately 3:30 pm. Plaintiff puts on his right turn signal and begins slowing down as he prepares to turn into his driveway. Defendant, fails to mind the roadway and swerves to the right, colliding with the right side of Plaintiff's vehicle. Plaintiff sustains serious and permanent injuries. The case was settled for $100,000.

Contractual Dispute - $300,000 Settlement

Peter Chasney & Greg Chasney
Circuit Court for Baltimore County

This was a contract claim against the Defendants for the sale of an air stack chiller. The amount of the claim was $308,000. The case went through discovery and ultimately the Plaintiffs were able to successfully argue that liability not only was with the company but also with the individual officers of the company for failing to pay for equipment violating their construction trust statute. Despite Chasney, et al, defending the case with very little offers to settle, the case ultimately settled for $300,000 at a mediation conference before the Court of Special Appeals.

Slip & Fall - Settled Favorably (2015)

Aaron Heim v. Emerald Hospitality Group, et al.
Circuit Court for Washington County

Plaintiff slipped and fell on ice in the parking lot outside of his place of employment, which resulted in serious injuries. Defendants denied liability. Plaintiff received a confidential settlement on very favorable terms.

Employment Dispute - Great Result for Employee

In the Matter of Employees Retirement System Of Baltimore County
Circuit Court for Baltimore County

This case involves the successful reinstatement of an employee’s pension, which was denied by Baltimore County Employee Retirement Services. Once the pension was reinstated, Baltimore County filed two successive appeals, which were denied first by the Circuit Court and then by the Court of Special Appeals.

Auto Accident - $205,000 Settlement (2014)

Raymond Jarrell v. Christopher Riker and CMS Logistics
Circuit Court for Berkley County, West Virginia

Plaintiff is involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in serious injuries. The case settles above insurance policy limits. A previous settlement with Defendant driver, Riker, settled for policy limits of $100,000, with a total award of $205,000.

Slip & Fall/Premises Liability - $75,000 Settlement (2013)

Darryl Hughes, et al v. Lois Mummert
Circuit Court for Washington County

Plaintiff is contracted to inspect a water heater in Defendant's home. He enters the home via a set of stairs that leads from outside into the basement. As Plaintiff is walking down the stairs, the tread on the staircase detaches, causing Plaintiff to twist his leg and fall down the remaining stairs into the basement. He suffers serious injuries. Defendant denies liability and claims that Plaintiff was contributory negligent. However, Plaintiff’s expert was able to show the mechanics of the injury and that the condition should have been known to Defendant. The case was settled for $75,000.00 prior to trial.

Personal Injury - Substantial Confidential Settlement

RM v. Grocery Store
Circuit Court for Washington County

Plaintiff sustains serious injuries while shopping at a local grocery store when she is hit by a stock cart. Liability is initially denied by Defendant. Through discovery, a recorded tape of the event is secured. The tape contributed to success in mediation, where the case settled for a very substantial amount (the agreement is confidential).

Personal Injury/Auto Accident - $100,000 Settlement

Jordan M. Girgg v. Nathaniel J. Brown
Circuit Court for Baltimore County

Plaintiff is involved in a light sequence/right of way case. Plaintiff is making a left-hand turn and is struck by Defendant, who alleges that he had the right-of-way. Plaintiff suffers serious injuries. The pre-suit offer was a denial of zero liability. At a settlement conference before Judge Turnbull, the full policy of $100,000 was paid and the case settled.

Personal Injury/Auto Accident - $70,000 (2015)

Alicia Allen, et al v. Shirley Ann Iseminger
Circuit Court for Washington County

Plaintiffs are passenger and driver who had previously waived conflicts. Suit is filed against a deceased defendant, who files a counter-claim alleging contributory negligence in a rear-end accident. Mediation is held, and the combined offers for both Plaintiffs are $8,000, subsequent to filing pre-trial motions including a Motion for Summary Judgment on the issue of liability. Dolina Hobbs settled the case before Judge Beachley for amounts totaling $70,000.

Personal Injury - $70,000 Settlement (2015)

Krista Rhodes v. Barnhart, Jr.
Circuit Court for Washington County

Krista Rhodes filed a personal injury matter.  Defendant claimed defenses on causal relationship and offered just $40,000.  Plaintiff maintained through her expert, Dr. Stewart Miller, that her foot pain was related to the accident.  Dolina Hobbs filed suit on behalf of the Plaintiff.  Case was settled in mediation six (6) months prior to trial in the amount of $70,000.

Personal Injury - $45,000 Settlement (2015)

Terry Mack v. Giant Foods

Personal injury matter. Client was pinned in the electronic doors of a major grocery store chain causing serious bodily injury. Claim settled for $45,000.00 before a suit was ever filed.