Martin Wolf may not be a household name, but you would know him if you lived near the naval air station in Virginia Beach. Mr. Wolf successfully represented the owners of more than 2,000 residential properties near Naval Air Station Oceana whose lives became unbearable when the Navy transferred 156 advanced fighter jets (nearly the entire Atlantic Fleet) to NAS Oceana in 1999. In 2000, Mr. Wolf began to develop a case against the United States for “taking” an avigation easement (flights in airspace) over their properties without paying just compensation as required by the Constitution. Although there had been successful inverse condemnation cases for avigation easements in the past, this was one of, if not the, largest of its kind. Ultimately, after 6 years, the case settled on the eve of trial for more than $34 million.
In more than 20 years experience as a trial lawyer, Mr. Wolf has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of cases: inverse condemnation, marine insurance coverage, wrongful repossession of vehicles, estate disputes, electric and gas utility administrative hearings, just to name a few. Most often, however, he has represented consumers and others who feel powerless against big government and big business. He has tried cases to multi-million dollar verdicts, and has settled class actions on behalf of thousands of plaintiffs for many millions of dollars.
Frequently Mr. Wolf takes on big corporations, consumer finance companies, banks, insurance companies, and their high-powered lawyers. In a series of class actions, for instance, Mr. Wolf sued 5 Maryland HMOs who had collected money illegally from their members. The settlements returned more than $8 million to the HMO members, for which Mr. Wolf and his co-counsel were named 2009 Trial Lawyers of the Year by the Maryland Association for Justice. He also represented borrowers whose cars were repossessed illegally by their finance companies. The settlements in 7 cases provided relief of more than $70 million.
This work on behalf of consumers has won acknowledgement and awards. In 2010, his firm was named National Consumer Attorneys of the Year by the National Association of Consumer Advocates. The firm is also listed in U.S. News and World Reports listing of Best Law Firms as a Tier 1 Metropolitan firm in Mass Torts/Class Actions – Plaintiffs. Individually, Mr. Wolf is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Maryland SuperLawyers, Who’s Who in American Law, and is rated by his peers in Martindale-Hubbell as AV Preeminent, the highest possible rating. In 2011, Best Lawyers selected Mr. Wolf as its Lawyer of the Year in Mass Torts/Class Actions-Plaintiffs for Baltimore, an honor given to one lawyer each year based on consistently high peer review ratings.
Bourgeois, et al. v. Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. — On certified questions from the U.S. District Court, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that Ticketmaster's added fees violate the
Baltimore City anti-scalping ordinances. This was the first time the Baltimore ordinances had been interpreted by the Court of Appeals and the second time an appellate
court had held that Ticketmaster's practice of adding fees to the price of a ticket constituted ticket scalping.
Testwuide, et al. v. United States — In Testwuide (and 8 other related cases), we represented the owners of 2,098 residential properties in an inverse condemnation case in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. We alleged the taking of an avigation easement as the result of excessive noise and related impacts on the affected properties as a result of F/A-18 flight activities at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia. On the eve of trial in the test case for 12 representative properties, we settled for an amount in excess of $34 million. This is believed to be the largest settlement of an avigation easement takings case.
Riemer v. Columbia Medical Plan — Riemer (and 4 other similar cases) was a claim to recover subrogation payments from personal injury recoveries made by members of Maryland HMO members to their respective HMOs for medical treatments as a result of injuries sustained in accidents. These cases changed the practice of Maryland HMOs which, until these cases were litigated, routinely collected subrogation from their members in violation of Maryland''s HMO statute. Based on these cases, the trial team was awarded the 2009 Trial Lawyer of the Year award from the Maryland Association for Justice (formerly the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association).