Hon. Dennis M. Sweeney (Ret.)
served with distinction for 17 years as a trial judge on Maryland’s Circuit Court handling a variety of civil and criminal matters including complex, multi-party commercial, business, and personal injury cases.
Since retiring from the bench in 2007, Judge Sweeney has continued to preside as a recalled judge (a retired judge approved for recall for temporary service) over cases in the Central Maryland area including medical malpractice, legal malpractice, attorney grievance cases, business and commercial disputes, and land condemnation cases.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
- Since retiring as a full time judge, Judge Sweeney has served as a private mediator or arbitrator. He was also one of the inaugural judges selected in 2009 to become a Mediator for the Pilot Civil Mediation Program of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and has also worked as a settlement judge for the Maryland Circuit Courts.
- In 2009, Judge Sweeney was designated to serve as the trial judge for a series of high profile political corruption cases in Baltimore City involving various city officials and real estate developers. The most noteworthy was a trial of the then Mayor of Baltimore City which ended in February 2010 with a conviction and her resignation from office.
- Judge Sweeney was one of the first Maryland judges designated in 2003 to serve in the Business and Technology Case Management Program in Maryland’s Circuit Courts. In that program, the designated judges were assigned to handle the most complex business cases filed in Maryland courts. Among the cases he adjudicated was the stockholders’ suit that attempted to block by injunction the acquisition of the Rouse Company by General Growth Properties. Jasinover v. Rouse Co., 204 WL 3135516 (Nov. 4, 2004).
- While serving as Maryland’s Deputy General, Judge Sweeney successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court the case of Maryland v. Buie, 494 U.S. 325 (1990) dealing with important Fourth Amendment issues. During the Maryland Savings and Loan crisis in the late 1980s, Judge Sweeney supervised all the state’s civil litigation arising from the failure of several Maryland savings and loan associations including suits against officers and directors of the failed institutions and suits against law firms and accounting firms that had provided advice and services that contributed to the demise of the institutions.
- Before service in the Office of the Attorney General, Judge Sweeney worked as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and also as a legal services attorney for the Baltimore Legal Aid Bureau. In that position, Judge Sweeney frequently represented low income persons in class action suits in federal court against state and government officials. See, e.g., Kimble v. Solomon, 599 F.2d 599 (1979) (class action suit on behalf of Medicaid recipients) and Brown v. Weinberger, 382 F. Supp. 1092 (D. Md. 1974) (class action challenge to federal government termination of SSI welfare benefits). He also wrote amicus briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. See, e.g., Califano v. Sanders, 430 U.S. 99 (1997).
- Business and Commercial: mediated disputes regarding limited partnerships, the dissolution of partnerships, the division of income and assets, and the rights of minority shareholders in Maryland corporations
- Contracts: mediated disputes involving partnership agreements, agreements to settle litigation, residential and commercial real estate contracts, fraud claims concerning contractual matters, adherence of commercial banks to contractual agreements regarding deposits, and attorney fee agreements in commercial guaranty agreements
- Employment: mediated cases involving employee discharges, interpretation of employment agreements, and restrictive covenants
- Estates and Trusts: mediated disputes regarding the interpretation of trusts and wills involving many family members
- Family Law: mediated divorce, custody, and property matters including the valuation of businesses
- Insurance Subrogation and Coverage Claims: mediated cases with multiple parties involving property loss and matters of product liability
- Personal Injury: mediated cases involving automobile accidents and injuries from construction and other activities
- Real Property: mediated disputes involving the ownership of real property, allegations of equitable ownership in real property, and breach of commercial leases
- Zoning and Land Use: mediated disputes involving the application of zoning and land use regulations to property
- Served as the sole arbitrator over disputes involving:
- Personal injury
- Property damage
- Insurance coverage matters
- Attorney fees
- Currently serving on a three-member panel in a professional liability matter that will be tried over several weeks in 2011
- Currently serving as a Special Master for the U.S. District Court of Maryland concerning National Flood Insurance Claims filed by homeowners against FEMA over hurricane flood damage
- Appointed in 2010 to serve as a Special Master for the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to review and make recommendations on 67 FEMA claims filed by homeowners who experienced flood and storm losses as a result of Hurricane Isabel