Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

October 10, 2008

Supreme Court lets stand award to FedEx worker

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for review of a Baltimore case involving punitive damages awarded to a former Federal Express worker who is deaf under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said yesterday. That means the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals upholding a $100,000 punitive damages award in an EEOC lawsuit stands. In March 2006, a federal jury ordered FedEx to pay that amount for failing to accommodate Ronald Lockhart, who worked as a package handler at FedEx's facility at BWI. FedEx did not return a call for comment yesterday.

Hanah Cho

Finance companies appeal cease-desist order

Premium finance companies plan to appeal a cease-and-desist order from Maryland Insurance Commissioner Ralph S. Tyler, who found that they charge unlawfully high interest. Robert Rubenstein, president of U.S. Capital Associates LLC, one of the larger finance companies, said Wednesday that his attorneys are preparing a formal request for a hearing on the matter. He said Tyler's assertions that interest rates exceed statutory limits are "one hundred percent false." Rubenstein also said Tyler's claims that his company charged interest on policies that were never issued were "slanderous." The finance companies lend to drivers with policies from the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, the state's insurer of last resort. State law requires that the annual premium be paid to MAIF upfront, at an average of $1,700, and most policyholders turn to finance companies to cover the cost.

Laura Smitherman

City seeks developer for Mount Vernon mansion

Baltimore officials are seeking a developer to buy, lease or operate the city-owned Inn at Government House, a brownstone mansion in Mount Vernon the city operates as a 21-room historic inn. Baltimore Development Corp. issued yesterday issued a request for proposals that would preferably keep the mansion at 1125 N. Calvert St. operating as an inn or transform it to another use. A change would require the backing of the city, the neighborhood and the Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation, said Darrell Doan, the BDC's director of economic development east. The 18,000-square-foot structure was built in 1890 as a private residence. It is now considered the city's official guesthouse but is open to the public, Doan said. "The city is not an inn operator," Doan said. "Our goals are to bring in an experienced and highly competent hotelier who would not only operate the facility more efficiently and maximize the returns and revenue to the city; they would also provide the private debt and equity to make needed renovations."

Lorraine Mirabella

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