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Benson Legg

Benson Everett Legg, Retired Chief Judge, US District Court for the District of Maryland

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Teresa Menendez
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Hon. Benson E. Legg (Ret.), the former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, brings deep experience to his full-time ADR practice.

As a federal trial judge for 21 years, he presided over every type of complex civil case that comes before the federal courts. Before joining the bench, he spent 16 years as a business litigator with a major law firm, representing clients in a wide array of cases including antitrust, breach of contract, civil rights, employment discrimination, insurance coverage, intellectual property, toxic torts, and securities. After taking senior status, Judge Legg conducted settlement conferences for the district court in a variety of matters.

During his career on the federal district court, Judge Legg earned high marks for his legal ability and judicial temperament. He is known for being well-prepared, courteous, and even-handed.

ADR Experience

As a Senior Judge of the U.S. District Court for Maryland, he presided over settlement conferences in a variety of matters, including:

  • Breach of Contract
    • Alleged breach of a post-employment covenant not to compete 
  • Consumer Class Action
    • Alleged violations of consumer protection laws involving retail installment sales contracts
  • Securities Class Action
    • Alleged violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
  • Employment
    • State employee who alleged that her termination was discriminatory (ADEA, FMLA, and ADA)
    • Teacher who claimed that her termination was based on race and pregnancy (Title VII)
    • Warehouse worker who alleged discrimination based on her sex, female (Title VII)
    • Insurance company employee who claimed sexual harassment by a supervisor (Title VII)
  • Insurance Coverage
    • Dispute over the coverage afforded by a commercial crime insurance policy
  • Intellectual Property
    • Suit by a publisher alleging copyright and trademark infringement
  • Products Liability
    • Alleged motor vehicle defect

Representative Matters

In addition to his long experience as a business litigator, Judge Legg spent 21 years as a U.S. District Judge handling a large civil docket. What follows is a representative sample of the types of the complex matters over which he presided:

Administrative Law

  • Alemi v. Qatar Airways, Civil No. L-11-3420
    Decided the required forum for suit under Warsaw Convention
  • Fleming v. Barnhart, 284 F.Supp.2d 256
    T horoughly analyzed the standards that the Social Security Administration was required to employ when addressing a complicated medical claim
  • Huff v. U.S. Department of the Army, 508 F.Supp.2d 459
    S ignificant procedural rulings in a disability claim action brought by a veteran 
  • MCI Telecommunications, Inc. v. T.A. Communications, Inc., 40 F.Supp.2d 728
    D ecided which state law claims were and were not preempted by FCC rulings under the Federal Communications Act
  • U.S. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 423 F.Supp.2d 522
    Qui tam action seeking to recover penalties under the False Claims Act against government contractor that operated uranium enrichment plant

Admiralty

  • In The Matter Of Complaint Of Eternity Shipping, LTD., 444 F.Supp.2d 347
    V essel owner and manager filed action seeking limitation/exoneration from liability for damages resulting from the collapse of a crane aboard vessel that killed two seamen
  • Sullivan v. General Helicopters, Int’l., 564 F. Supp.2d 496
    Crane operator who moved disabled helicopter from ship to pier sought marine salvage award

Antitrust

  • Baltimore Scrap Corporation v. The David J. Joseph Co., 81 F.Supp.2d 602:
    Scrap metal company, whose zoning permit was clandestinely opposed by competitor, sued for antitrust violations
  • Merck-Medco Managed Care, Inc. v. Rite Aid Corporation, 22 F.Supp.2d 447
    Terminated prescription contractor brought antitrust claim against retail pharmacies

Arbitration

  • PC Construction Co. v. City of Salisbury, Civil No. L-12-0062
    City not required to arbitrate construction dispute 
  • Western Maryland Wireless Connection v. Zini, 601 F.Supp.2d 634
    Ruling that plaintiff’s action for breach of contract and fraud was barred by affirmative defense of arbitration and award

Bankruptcy

  • Coleman v. Simpson, 327 B.R. 753
    T ransfers voided as fraudulent
  • In re Preston Trucking Company, Inc., 392 B.R. 623
    In a case involving the WARN Act and LMRA, chapter 11 debtor-in-possession brought interpleader action against union representing company’s former employees
  • Snyder v. IRS, 337 B.R. 542
    Determined whether the IRS could use summary assessment procedure without first issuing a notice of deficiency

Breach of Contract

  • Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. v. Bell BCI Company, 520 F. Supp.2d 701
    Subcontractor on a contract for the construction of jet fuel tanks for the Department of the Navy sued the general contractor claiming that the failure to pay in full violated the Miller Act
  • Dunnaville v. McCormick & Company, Inc., 21 F.Supp.2d 527
    Prospective buyer of a corporation’s subsidiary, which was ultimately sold to another, brought suit for breach of contract, tortuous interference, and unjust enrichment
  • Enfield Equipment Co. Inc. v. John Deere Company, 64 F.Supp.2d 483
    Farm equipment dealer brought contract and tort claims against manufacturer that withheld its consent to the dealer’s sale of its distributorship
  • Legore v. OneWest Bank, FSB, Civil Case No. L-11-0589
    Suit under Home Affordable Modification Program claiming improper failure to modify home mortgage
  • Mobray v. Zumot, 553 F.Supp.2d 554
    Claims for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation in connection with the sale of an apartment building. Other rulings reported at 536 F.Supp.2d 617
  • Onusko v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA, Civil Case No. L-09-1080
    Plaintiff alleged that employer broke a promise to build a sub-prime mortgage unit around her
  • Quality Systems, Inc. v. Warman, 132 F.Supp.2d 349
    Alleging a mass raid on its workforce, a company that provides staffing for government contracts sued competitor and former employees
  • Redner’s Markets, Inc. v. Joppatowne G.P. Limited Partnership, Civil No. L-11-1864
    Major shopping center tenant sued landlord claiming breach of a restrictive use covenant
  • Tech USA, Inc. v. Evans, 592 F.Supp.2d 582
    Employer brought action against former employee for violation of confidentiality and non-competition agreement; extensive discussion of enforceability of forum selection clause
  • Trans/Air Manufacturing Corporation v. Merson, 524 F.Supp.2d 718
    Manufacturer brought action against former employee and competitor to enforce post-employment confidentiality and non-competition covenant
  • U.S. Bank Trust National Assn. v. Nielsen Enterprises MD, 232 F. Supp.2d 500
    In a complex real estate case involving a hotel, the master servicer of pool of commercial mortgage loans brought action against mortgagee 

Civil Rights/Constitution

  • Allen v. Columbia Mall, Inc., 47 F.Supp.2d 605
    Juvenile patrons sued mall alleging racial discrimination and unlawful search and seizure
  • Biggs v. Board of Education of Cecil County, Maryland, 229 F. Supp.2d 437
    D isabled middle school student brought action against school board under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Title IX, alleging failure to adequately deal with teasing by other students
  • Evans v. Saar, 412 F.Supp.2d 519
    Prison inmate sentenced to death sued state claiming that its lethal injection protocol violated the 8th Amendment
  • Farmer v. Ramsay, 41 F.Supp.2d 587
    Caucasian applicant for admission to university medical school sued alleging that he was denied admission on the basis of his race; summary judgment ruling reported at 159 F. Supp.2d 873
  • Hall v. St. Mary’s Seminary & University, 608 F.Supp.2d 679
    Student brought action against university asserting claims for discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA, and Title VII
  • Housley v. Holquist, civil number L-10-1881
    Section 1983 suit contending that county police officers used excessive force when retrieving a person ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination
  • Martino v. Bell, 40 F.Supp.2d 719
    Significant rulings regarding Maryland’s Local Government Tort Claims Act in suit brought by detainees against county and county police officers
  • Muntjan v. Waltemeyer, 166 F.Supp.2d 424
    Plaintiff, who was acquitted of murder brought action against police officers, city council, and mayor
  • Orgain v. City of Salisbury, 521 F.Supp.2d 465
    Nightclub and its operators brought federal civil rights suit against city, county, police chief, and licensing officials, alleging that the club was singled out for heightened scrutiny because of its “hip hop” nights; see also Habash v. City of Salisbury, 618 F. Supp.2d 434
  • Rosenfeld v. Montgomery County Public Schools, 41 F.Supp.2d 581
    Caucasian siblings sued school district alleging that admissions process for magnet schools was tainted by racial profiling
  • Wagner v. Short, 63 F.Supp.2d 672
    Disabled student and his parents sued state Department of Education and others under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Class Actions/MDL

  • Doe v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland, Inc., 173 F.Supp.2d 398
    Participants in group health plan filed class action complaint alleging covert application of overly restrictive coverage criteria
  • Howell v. State Farm Insurance Companies, 448 F.Supp.2d 676
    Alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, insureds brought proposed class action against private flood insurers; summary judgment rulings reported at 540 F.Supp.2d 621
  • In re ProteGen Sling and Vesica System Products Liability Litigation, presided over MDL 1387 as transferee judge; case settled before trial
  • Lloyd v. General Motors Corp., 560 F.Supp.2d 420
    Class action against automobile manufacturers to recover damages arising from cost of replacing allegedly defective seating systems; see also 575 F.Supp.2d 714, and 266 F.R.D. 98 (class certification ruling)
  • Slaughter v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, Civil Case No. L-10-1157
    Whether personal representative of a firefighter who tragically died during a training exercise may sue City under 42 U.C.C. Section 1983
  • Stone et al. v. Wayric Services, Inc., Civil Case No. L-10-484
    Opinion deciding that an entity that purchases defaulted debts and subsequently seeks to collect on those debts through litigation is a collection agency required to be licensed under Maryland law

Corporations 

  • Froelich v. Erickson, 96 F.Supp.2d 507
    Former employee and minority interest holder in limited liability company challenged reclassification and squeeze-out merger

Defamation

  • Freyd v. Whitfield, 972 F. Supp. 940
    Founders of organization challenging legitimacy of “repressed memory” doctrine filed defamation action against psychologist 
  • Ransom v. Baltimore County, 111 F.Supp.2d 704
    Following his arrest and involuntary commitment, police officer brought action against county for defamation, false arrest, and imprisonment

Discovery and Procedure

  • ASCO Healthcare, Inc. v. Heart of Texas Health Care, 540 F. Supp.2d 634
    Pharmaceutical supplier sued purchasers of healthcare facilities for terminating supply contracts; significant ruling on defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction
  • Doe v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland, 103 F.Supp.2d 856
    Intervenors moved for modification of protective order prohibiting parties from disclosing information that had been designated confidential
  • Erie Insurance Exchange v. Davenport Insulation, Inc., 659 F.Supp.2d 701
    Failure to preserve fireplace constituted spoliation of evidence, warranting dismissal
  • FDIC v. Hatziyannis, 180 F.R.D. 292
    Deliberative process privilege did not protect FDIC documents from discovery
  • LWRC International, LLC v. Mindlab Media, LLC, Civil Case No. L-11-1028
    In a Lanham Act dispute involving photos of the host of a television program, court ruled that plaintiff could not use a declaratory judgment action to win a race to the courthouse 

Employment/Labor 

  • Adams v. Morris, 706 F.Supp.2d 632
    Employees brought action alleging assault, battery, and sexual harassment; significant rulings on motions for remittitur and new trial
  • Albero v. City of Salisbury, 422 F.Supp.2d. 549
    Former employee brought action against municipality and supervisor under Title VII alleging sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation
  • Alderman v. Baltimore City Police Department, 952 F.Supp. 256
    City police officers sued under the FLSA claiming unpaid compensation for time spent caring for police canines
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. v. O’Connor, 75 F.Supp.2d 440
    Contractor and trade association brought action against Maryland state officials claiming that their refusal to register contractor’s apprenticeship program violated federal and state law
  • Bernstein v. The St. Paul Companies, Inc., 134 F.Supp2d 730
    White male former employee with disability from polio brought action against former employer alleging reverse race and reverse gender discrimination, age and disability discrimination, and retaliation
  • Blake v. Baltimore County, 662 F.Supp.2d 417
    Police officer contended that order requiring him to submit to fitness for duty examination and EEG violated his constitutional rights and the ADA
  • Bowers v. Town of Smithsburg, 990 F.Supp. 396
    Former chief of police sued for reinstatement contending that his termination was unauthorized
  • Bruce v. ILA, 7 F.Supp.2d 609
    Union member sued local and international unions and trade association alleging violations of the NLRA and the LMRA 
  • E.E.O.C. v. Nucletron Corporation, 563 F.Supp.2d 592
    Agency contended that employer’s offer of separation agreement conditioning receipt of severance benefits upon agreement not to file discrimination claim constituted facial retaliation
  • E.E.O.C. v. Worthington, Moore & Jacobs, Inc., 582 F. Supp.2d 731
    Agency sued on behalf of female employees alleging hostile work environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment
  • Greenan v. Board of Education of Worcester County, Civil Case No. L-10-1868
    Teacher advanced claims for pregnancy discrimination, race discrimination, and retaliation
  • Hart v. Harbor Court Associates, 46 F.Supp.2d 441
    Former female employee sued for hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and retaliation under Title VII
  • Hice v. Director of Workers’ Compensation Programs, 48 F.Supp.2d 501
    Electrical engineer who suffered heart attack while inspecting national defense communication equipment petitioned for review of decision of Department of Labor’s Benefits Review Board affirming denial of worker’s compensation benefits
  • Jordan v. CSX Intermodal, Inc., 991 F.Supp. 754
    Female worker alleged wage discrimination in violation of Title VII
  • Parris v. Board of Education of Baltimore County, Civ. No. L-09-0704
    Plaintiff contended that board reassigned her in retaliation for raising concerns about discrimination in school system
  • Rockwell v. Mack Trucks, Inc., 8 F.Supp.2d 499
    Former employee sued under the FMLA for wrongful termination
  • Spence v. NCI Information Systems, Inc., 530 F.Supp.2d 739
    Applicant for civilian position with Air Force sued former employer for making defamatory statements about him to Air Force investigators
  • Traversa v. Ford, Civil No. L-10-442
    Plaintiff alleged that Maryland Commission on Human Relations violated his civil rights and acted negligently by delaying investigation of his complaint and concluding that he was not disabled; opinion explores scope of qualified and quasi-judicial immunities afforded the commission 

Government Contracts

  • Healthcare Architects, Inc. v. Shalala, 992 F.Supp. 804
    Software marketer sued HCFA alleging violations of the Competition in Contracting Act

Insurance

  • Brooks v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 526 F.Supp.2d 534
    Determining that an administrator’s internal claims management guidelines were not relevant compliance verification material within the meaning of ERISA’s implementing regulations
  • Flores v. Life Insurance Company of North America, Civil No. L-10-0098
    In ERISA case, court determined that compelling authority was lacking to warrant adoption of “de facto” administrator doctrine
  • Met Life v. Pearson, 6 F.Supp.2d 469
    Interpleader action to resolve competing claims to life insurance policy
  • Perdue Farms Incorporated v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburg, 197 F. Supp.2d 370
    Coverage dispute related to Perdue’s misappropriation of chicken roasting process
  • Randi v. GSA, 995 F.Supp 601
    Member of insured organization’s executive council brought action against liability insurer to recover cost of defending lawsuit
  • Rapid Settlements, LTD. v. U.S.F. & G., 672 F.Supp.2d 714
    Interpleader action involving Maine Structured Settlement Act and Louisiana Structured Settlement Protection Act

Intellectual Property

  • Brown v. McCormick, 23 F.Supp.2d 594
    Author of copyrighted quilt block patterns sued Universal Studios, Inc. and others who made a movie titled, How to Make an American Quilt; opinion following bench trial is reported at 87 F.Supp.2d 467
  • Cassidy v. Lourim, 311 F. Supp.2d 456
    Suit by the heirs of singer Eva Cassidy seeking to bar the re-distribution of a youthful album
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. v. Dick’s Clothing & Sporting Goods, Inc., 12 F.Supp.2d 499
    Lanham Act trade name infringement suit
  • Home Paramount Control Companies v. FMC Corp/Jagr. Products, 107 F.Supp.2d 684
    Distributor sued manufacturer for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Maruti.com v. Maruti Udyog Limited, 447 F.Supp.2d 494
    Owner of domain name brought suit against manufacturer under Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act
  • Millennium Laboratories, Inc. v. Ameritox, LTD, 2013 WL 628424
    Lanham Act false advertising dispute between medical testing laboratories 

Personal Injury/Torts

  • Algrave v. Ocean City, 5 F.Supp. 2d 354
    Athlete sued for injuries sustained when he injured himself on a gymnasium floor
  • Scores of other diversity suits alleging personal injury based on automobile accidents and other causes

Products Liability

  • Ames v. Apothecon, Inc., 431 F.Supp.2d 566
    Analyzes the learned intermediary doctrine in a suit against a drug manufacturer
  • Higgins v. Diversey Corp., 998 F.Supp. 598
    Suit against manufacturer claiming injury resulting from inhalation of powdered bleach

Professional Liability (Legal And Medical)

  • Briggs v. Cochran, 17 F.Supp.2d 453
    Doctor who surrendered license on advice of counsel sued former attorney
  • Cassidy v. Lourim, 311 F. Supp.2d 456
    Suit by the heirs of singer Eva Cassidy moved to disqualify former attorney who had represented them in related litigation
  • Edell & Associates v. Law Office of Peter Angelos, 106 F.Supp.2d 799
    Seeking portion of contingency fee, consulting law firm sued plaintiff’s lead counsel after settlement of major tobacco litigation
  • Imgarten v. Bellboy Corporation, 383 F.Supp.2d 825
    Complicated apportionment of attorney’s fees, costs, and prejudgment interest in case in which former employee prevailed on claim under Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law but lost counterclaim for conversion
  • Katims v. Milligen, White, Zelano & Branigan, P.C., 706 F. Supp.2d 645
    Legal malpractice action stemming from the expiration of inventor’s patent

Securities

  • Berk v. Maryland Publick Banks, Inc., 6 F.Supp.2d 472
    Shareholder suit under 1934 Act and the parallel provisions of Maryland law
  • Appointed by the Chief Justice to serve on two standing committees of the Judicial Conference of the United States:
    • Committee on Court Administration and Case Management-Fourth Circuit Representative, 2005-2011 
    • Committee on Security and Facilities-Fourth Circuit Representative, 1994-2000
  • Member, Judicial Council of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 2004-2010
  • Member, Maryland Judicial Commission on Professionalism, 2004-2007
  • Member, Business Torts Litigation Committee, American Bar Association’s Litigation Section, 1989 
  • Bar Association of Baltimore City: Executive Council (1987-1988); Vice Chairman, Continuing Legal Education Committee (1986-1987); Chairman, Continuing Legal Education Committee (1987-1988)
  • Special Reporter to the Appeals Subcommittee, Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, Court of Appeals of Maryland, 1983-1985
  • Chairman of the Economics of Litigation Committee, Litigation Section, Maryland State Bar Association, 1981-1982
  • Past Trustee, Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers, Inc.
  • Member, Lawyers’ Round Table
  • Trustee, Executive and Financial Committee member, Maryland Zoological Society, Baltimore, 1990-2004
  • Member, Advisory Board, National Aquarium in Baltimore, 1987-2003
  • Member, Board of Directors, American Red Cross, Central Maryland Chapter, 1979-1988
  • Trustee (including membership on the Executive Committee and service on two headmaster search committees), Gilman School, 2007-present

Publications and Teaching

  • Adjunct Faculty, University of Maryland Law School: taught Evidence in 2011 (with Rignal W. Baldwin, Jr.) and in 2013 (with U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm)
  • Adjunct Faculty, University of Baltimore Law School: taught seminar in Recent Supreme Court Decisions (with Rignal W. Baldwin, Jr.) in 2011 and 2012
  • Lecturer on Fair Trade and Antitrust Regulation, Executive Masters of Business Administration Program, Loyola University Maryland
  • Judge Legg frequently guest lectures and presides over moot courts and mock trials at law schools, including Georgetown, the University of Maryland, the University of Baltimore, and the University of Virginia
  • Co-Editor, Appellate Practice Under the Maryland Rules, published in 1989, Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers, Inc.
  • Contributing Author, Chapter on Inducing Breach of Contract, Model Jury Instructions for Business Tort Litigation (Second Edition), published in 1988, Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association
  • B.E. Legg and J.H. Lewin, Good Trial Judges, Litigation, The Journal of the ABA Section of Litigation, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Spring 1983)
  • Reliance Electric and 16(b) Litigation: A Return to the Objective Approach?, 58 Univ. of Va. Law Review 907 (1972)
  • Judge, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, 1991-2013
    • Senior Judge, June 2012-February 2013
    • Chief Judge, January 2003-January 2010
    • Associate Judge, September 1991-January 2003 and January 2010-June 2012
  • Partner, Venable, Baetjer and Howard, 1982-1991 (associate, 1975-1981)
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Frank A. Kaufman, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, 1973-1974 
  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1973 (editorial board, Virginia Law Review, 1971-1973; Order of Coif)
  • A.B., English Literature, magna cum laude, Princeton University, 1970

Counsel Comments

    “He’s clearly prepared and has read the briefs and asks questions.”

    “He’s fabulous. He understands the law, is well-read on the cases and well-prepared.”

    “He’s very evenhanded.”

    “His level of courteousness is very high. He’s a real gentleman.”

    -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, 2012

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Specialties

  • Administrative Law
  • Antitrust
  • Appellate
  • Arbitration
  • Banking
  • Business/Commercial
  • Class Action/Mass Tort
  • Construction
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Federal Judge
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Securities

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