JAMES P. KOCH
1101 SAINT PAUL STREET
BALTIMORE, MD 21202
TEL. 410 539 7816
FAX 410 539 3957
Area covered: All Maryland state and federal courts
Minimum claim size accepted: $15,000
The collection process: We use all necessary methods that are legally available to collect the amount due, including
Asset investigations (real property ownership, bank accounts, employment, etc.)
Attachments before judgment
Charging orders against partnership and LLC interests
Constructive trust actions
Enforcement of confessed judgment promissory notes
Enforcement of foreign (out of state) judgments in Maryland
Execution on judgment (Sheriff's sale)
Fraudulent transfer actions
Garnishments, including bank accounts and wages
"Miller Act" actions (claims involving improvements to government owned real property)
Oral examinations of judgment debtor under oath (supplementary proceedings to discover assets)
Recordation of judgment lien when necessary to impose lien on real property
Trial in state or federal court when debtor disputes claim
The contingent fee on claims up to $100,000 is generally 25% of the amount collected after suit is filed (1/3 if the debtor contests liability and the case has to be tried in court on the merits). The contingent fee on claims over $100,000 is determined on a case by case basis on a sliding scale. The contingent fee is progressively reduced as the amount of the claim increases.
In most cases, a non-contingent suit fee is requested, due prior to filing suit. The amount of the non-contingent suit fee is determined on a case by case basis, based on the size of the claim and the anticipated complexity of the litigation. The non-contingent suit fee is credited against the contingent fee in the final account at the conclusion of the case.
Commercial claims are also accepted on an hourly basis.
Costs Payable in Advance:
District Court of Maryland cases (Claims up to $30,000): $300 per defendant
Circuit Court cases (Claims over $30,000): $500 per defendant
U.S. District Court cases: Advance costs are determined on a case by case basis ($750 minimum)
The firm has more than 30 years experience representing creditors, debtors, and trustees in matters before the Maryland bankruptcy court, including:
Chapter 11 reorganizations
Chapter 7 liquidations
Chapter 13 wage earner plans
Motions for relief from the bankruptcy stay (11 U.S.C. Sec. 362)
Bankruptcy litigation involving recovery of preferential and fraudulent transfers
Asset valuation disputes
Objections to discharge of debts
Disputes concerning the use and sale of assets
Objections to creditor claims
Our experience includes more than ten years of service on the panel of approved bankruptcy trustees.
An unpaid contractor or subcontractor who has made improvements to real property may obtain a mechanics lien on the property. Under Maryland law, all newly erected buildings and existing structures that are repaired or improved to the extent of 15% or more of their value are generally subject to the establishment of a mechanics lien for the payment of debts for work done and materials provided for the building.
A subcontractor, in order to obtain a mechanics lien, must give the owner written notice of an intention to claim a lien within 120 days after doing the work or furnishing the materials. The written notice must be in the form set out in Sec. 9-104 of the Maryland Real Property Code Ann., and generally must be either personally delivered to the owner or sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.
In order to establish a lien, a contractor or subcontractor must initiate proceedings by filing a petition in the circuit court for the county in which the real property is located, within 180 days after doing the work or furnishing the materials. After the petition is filed, the court issues an order which requires the owner to show cause why the mechanics lien should not attach. If the owner fails to respond to the show cause order, or fails to show cause why the lien should not attach, the court may enter a final order establishing a lien. If there is a legitimate dispute regarding the petitioner's entitlement to a lien, the court must schedule an evidentiary hearing to resolve the matter.
The law does not permit an unpaid subcontractor to place a mechanics lien on real property owned by a governmental entity. Instead, a subcontractor is limited to filing suit against any surety bond posted by the general contractor. The statute which sets forth the requirements for asserting a claim against a surety bond posted in connection with a federal construction project is known as the Miller Act. Maryland has enacted a similar statute, known as the Little Miller Act, which sets forth the requirements for asserting a bond claim arising out of a State owned construction project.