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Dennis Sweeney

Hon. Dennis M. Sweeney (Ret.)

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Teresa Menendez
T: 202-533-2017
F: 202-942-9186
1155 F Street, NW , Suite 1150 , Washington , DC 20004
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).

Representative Matters

 
Mediation
  • 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
 
Arbitration
  • 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
 
Special Master
  • 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
  • Recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America, 2016
  • Fourth Annual Award of Excellence, Howard County Bar Association, June 2010
  • Influential Marylander Honoree, Maryland Daily Record newspaper, April 2010
  • Named “Champion of Justice,” Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, October 2006
  • Ginny Mahoney Memorial Award, Maryland State Board of Victim Services, April 2002
  • Chair, Maryland Judiciary’s Committee on Jury Use and Management
  • Past Member, Maryland Court of Appeals Commission on Professionalism
  • Past Member, Maryland Steering Committee, Russian American Rule of Law Consortium
  • Past President, James Macgill American Inn of Court
  • Past Member, Judicial Ethics Committee of the Maryland Judicial Conference
  • Past Member, U.S. District Court Trial Experience Committee
  • Past Chair, State Advisory Council on Administrative Hearings
  • Past Member, Governor’s Task Force on Administrative Hearings
  • Past Vice-Chair, Governor’s Prescription Drug Commission
  • Past Member, Advisory Council to Maryland Legal Services Corporation
  • Past Member, Maryland General Assembly’s Task Force on Uninsured Employers
  • Member, American College of Business Court Judges
  • Member, Maryland State Bar Association (past Chair, Administrative Law Section)
  • Member, American Bar Association (past Vice-Chair, Committee on Health and Human Services)

Publications and Presentations

  • Faculty, New Trial Judge Orientation Program, Jury Trial Section, a program held annually for newly appointed Maryland trial judges
  • Columnist, “Judge on the Jury,” a periodic column on jury trials issues directed at litigators and judges which appears in the Maryland Daily Record newspaper
  • Author, “Social Media and the Jury,” Maryland Bar Journal, November 2010
  • Presenter, “Social Networking and Litigation: Friend or Unethical Foe?” American University’s Washington College of Law Trial Advocacy Program, November 2010
  • Presenter, “Can You Keep Them From Talking? Social Media and Juries,” Maryland State Bar Association, Solo and Small Firm Conference, November 2010
  • Prime Author and Editor, “Maryland Jury Trials,” Judicial Institute of Maryland, October 2010
  • Speaker, “The Internet, Social Media and Jury Trials: Lessons Learned from the Dixon Trial,” Address to the Litigation Section of the Maryland State Bar Association, April 2010
  • Author, “The ‘CSI Effect’ A Judge’s Viewpoint: How Do Courtroom Dramas Affect the Work of the Courts?” Justice Matters, Spring/Summer 2009
  • Author, “Origins of the Maryland Administrative Procedure Act,” an article published in a program by Maryland State Bar Association’s Administrative Law Section, January 2009
  • Panelist, University of Baltimore’s Symposium on Discovery of Electronically Stored Information, 37 University of Baltimore Law Review 315, March 2008
  • Faculty, “Electronic Commerce and Discovery,” Judicial Institute of Maryland, 2008
  • Presenter, “The Role of a Physician Board Member as a Judge” before the State Board of Physician Quality Assurance, 2003
  • Panelist, “The Bar, The Bench, The Media: A Matter of Trust,” Maryland State Bar Association and the Maryland Society of Professional Journalists Joint Conference, November 1998
  • Author, “Weathering the Storm: Current of Litigation Brought on by the Savings & Loan Crisis Has Inundated the State Court System,” 19 Maryland Bar Journal 14, September 1986
  • Mediator/Arbitrator, Special Master, JAMS, 2011-Present
  • Mediator/Arbitrator, Creative Dispute Resolutions, 2009-2010
  • ADR Training
    • Advanced Mediation Workshop for Judges, Maryland Court of Special Appeals, December 2010
    • Fifth Annual Arbitration Training Institute, A Comprehensive Training in Commercial Arbitration, July 2010
    • Appellate Mediation Training Program, Maryland Court of Special Appeals, December 2009
    • American Bar Association’s National Mediation Training for Judges, September 2007
  • Chief Judge, Fifth Judicial Circuit of the State of Maryland, 2005-2007
  • Associate Judge, Circuit Court for Howard County, Maryland, 1991-2007
  • Deputy Attorney General, State of Maryland, 1984-1991
  • Chief General Counsel and Chief of Civil Division, Office of the Maryland Attorney General, 1981-1984
  • Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant to Maryland Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs, 1979-1981
  • Chief Attorney, Administrative Law Center, Baltimore Legal Aid Bureau, Inc., 1975 -1979
  • Assistant Federal Public Defender, Office of the Maryland Federal Public Defender, 1975
  • Staff Attorney, Baltimore Legal Aid Bureau, 1971-1975
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1971
  • B.A., Loyola College, Maryland, 1967

Counsel Comments

    Recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America, 2016

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Specialties

  • Arbitration
  • Banking
  • Business/Commercial
  • Employment
  • Estate/Probate/Trusts
  • Family Law
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee

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