Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Changes To The FTC Franchise Rule

Following on my post from Dec. 23, 2005, the FTC recently amended the so-called Franchise Rule (16 CFR 436) which governs disclosure obligations in the sale of franchises. The new rule becomes fully effective July 1, 2008. From July 1, 2007 until July 1, 2008 you have the option of following either the old rule or the new. Take a look at the FTC's Press Release on the new rule. For the text of the new rule, click here (warning: large file). The new rule updates the old Code of Federal Regulations section (16 CFR 436) and adds a new section, 16 CFR 437.

Monday, January 22, 2007

New Federal Cases Filed In Maryland

Most of us use Pacer to find information about a particular federal case. To do so, you simply register with Pacer, log-in through the US Party/Case Index, and then search for docket information and/or full text documents related to a particular federal case. But what if you're not searching for a particular federal case--instead, you're interested in obtaining a list of newly filed federal cases on a particular subject? Can you use Pacer to do this? The answer is, you can, but instead of accessing Pacer through the US/Party Case Index, you access it through the CM/ECF (Case Management/Electronic Case Files) log-in page. For example, if you're interested in obtaining a list of Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases filed since January of this year in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, select the appropriate link from the CM/ECF page. After you log-in, select "Reports" at the top of the page and then "Cases" on the next page. On this page, select your case type (bankruptcy), chapter (11), and date range (eg., Jan 1-Jan.22) and then hit "Run Report." The system will then give you a listing of all Chapter 11 cases filed this year in the Maryland Bankruptcy Court. You can also do this for civil and criminal cases. Simply log-in to the CM/ECF page for the US District Court for the District of Maryland and then follow the same steps as above. In this case, though, you'll be selecting from a "Nature of Suit" list as opposed to a type of bankruptcy.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Monitoring New MD Legislation

With the new legislative session about to begin tomorrow, January 10, you may be interested in ways of monitoring bills on specific subjects. If you're a real estate attorney, for example, you may be interested in keeping up to date with new bills affecting your practice area. So, how do you do that? If you need instantaneous updates and can afford the pricetage ($800 per/yr) the Maryland General Assembly (MGA) provides a service called the Legislative Subscription Service. For the rest of us, the Assembly as of now does not provide a free email update service or feed. However, with a couple of manual steps, you can stay current. In the "Bill Indexes" part of the site select "One Or Two Subjects." All bills in the MGA are classified by one or more subjects. To find bills relating to your subject use either the drop-down subject list or, if you don't see your term listed, use the thesaurus on the bottom of the page. Back on the main page, select "Statute" to search for bills affecting a specific code section.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Blog On Maryland Law

If you're looking for a way to stay updated on new Maryland case law developments, you should check out the newly published Maryland Courts Watcher Blog. Authored by Stuart Levine (of Tax & Business Law Commentary fame) and a team of talented writers, the blog reports on newly published cases which are freely available on the web. Previously, if you wanted to stay updated on Maryland case law developments you really only had to check one or two sites. Today, MD opinions are published on a number of sites, including Baltimore City Bus. & Tech Ct. Opinions, Baltimore City Cir. Ct. Civil Opinions, MD Bus. & Tech. Ct. Opinions, MD Courts of Appeals Opinions, MD Tax Court Opinions, MD U.S. Bnkrptcy Ct. Opinions, and MD U.S. District Court Opinions. The Maryland Courts Watcher Blog makes the job of staying current that much easier by collecting the opinions published on these various sites and presenting them in one location.