Venable Adds Experienced Trial Lawyer Kurt Fischer to Baltimore Office

6 min

Mr. Fischer has handled large real estate and tax matters, including many of Maryland’s most prominent eminent domain and tax proceedings

Baltimore, MD (April 24, 2013) – Venable LLP announced that Kurt J. Fischer, an attorney experienced in both trials and regulatory proceedings, has joined the firm as a partner in its Baltimore office.

Mr. Fischer represents property owners, public utilities, commercial businesses and local governments in a range of real estate and tax matters in both trials and regulatory proceedings.  In 2004 he was appointed by the Governor Robert L. Ehrlich to chair the Real Estate Task Force on Business Owner Compensation in Condemnation Proceedings.  Previously, Governor William Donald Schaefer appointed Mr. Fischer to the State Advisory Council on Administrative Hearings, where he served from 1994 to 2001.  He joins Venable from DLA Piper, where he was also a partner.

In announcing Mr. Fisher’s arrival, firm Chairman, James L. Shea, said, “We are delighted to have someone of Kurt Fischer’s stature and experience join Venable.  As Maryland’s leading law firm, we strive to attract Maryland’s leading practitioners.  Kurt Fischer will add to an already deep bench of first-class litigators and we welcome him to our firm.”

Mr. Fischer is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  He has been consistently named a Best Lawyer in America for Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law and Real Estate Law and a Maryland Super Lawyer.  In 2012 and 2013, he was selected as one of the Top 100 Maryland lawyers by a publication that rates lawyers annually through peer review.  He has also been cited by the Benchmark legal rankings and research organization as an “outstanding litigator” whom competitors will “have to work hard to beat.”

Mr. Fischer has handled sensitive eminent domain matters for numerous public projects including highway and road realignments, landfills, high-voltage transmission lines, sewer and water facilities, railroads, and telecommunications lines.  He has also advised clients on key land use regulation, easements and real covenants, sales and option contracts, leases, and dissolution of business organizations.  He has counseled local governments and their officials on due process and equal protection claims stemming from land use decisions.

Mr. Fischer also represents businesses and municipal governments in taxation matters.  He has advised interstate corporations in income tax apportionment disputes; counseled corporations challenging sales and use tax assessments; and worked with individual and corporate property owners in appealing real property tax assessments.  He often represents Maryland counties in claims brought by taxpayers for refunds of excise taxes, sewer and water connection charges, and impact fees.

“Kurt Fischer is an immensely talented and well-rounded trial lawyer who’s amassed a tremendous bank of experience in handling complex land use, real estate and tax disputes,” said Geoffrey Garinther, Chair of Venable’s Litigation Division.  “His understanding of the intricacies of eminent domain and other highly charged areas of real estate law is as good as it gets, especially in the state of Maryland.  He is an outstanding addition to our practice and for clients facing the thorniest real estate problems.”

Mr. Fischer has tried numerous cases in federal and state court.  He has appeared before administrative and regulatory agencies, including the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals, Maryland Health Care Commission, Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission, and the state’s Public Service Commission.

Mr. Fischer’s noteworthy representations include:

  • Maryland property owners in condemnation proceedings brought by the State Highway Administration, including condemnations for the US Route 1 bypass in Harford County; the US 301 bypass south of Waldorf; the realignment of US Route 29; the realignment through River Hill; and the Inter-County Connector.

  • Owner of a cemetery under development in a condemnation action brought to acquire the property for a major highway; the condemning authority's initial offer for a portion of the property was $150,000 – the Circuit Court deciding the case ultimately entered a judgment on a jury verdict for over $12 million for the acquisition of the entire property.

  • A national retailer in an action brought by its landlord to set aside real estate covenants restricting the nature and scope of permissible development on an adjoining parcel of land.  The landlord proposed a complex of over 300 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail which would have destroyed the prominence and visibility of the retail store; after a six-day trial, the Circuit Court upheld the validity of the covenants.

  • A Maryland agency in the acquisition of the property for Camden Yards.  Before he was retained, the state had already deposited $11 million into court; the property owners were claiming values close to twice that amount.  Following a five-day mini-trial, the case was settled for precisely $11 million.

  • A Maryland county in the acquisition of a farm for expansion of the county's landfill.  The case was settled after a successful challenge to the admissibility of the property owner’s appraisal, leaving the property owners without any expert opinion regarding value.

  • A Maryland utility in its acquisitions of a number of properties in Howard County to construct the new Brighton-High Ridge high-voltage transmission line.

  • Maryland counties in the acquisition of properties for major road projects.

  • A Maryland sewer and water utility in the acquisition of 46 acres from a 284-acre property for the construction of rapid infiltration sewage ponds.  The commission appraised it at $175,000, while the property owner's demand was for $723,000.  The case was settled before trial for $225,000.

Marta Harting, one of Venable’s top government relations and regulatory attorneys, who previously worked with Mr. Fischer, added, “Kurt Fischer is a first-class litigator but above all, he understands how Maryland works.  He brings a wealth of experience and goodwill to Venable and we are delighted he is joining our firm.”

“Venable is the complete package so far as my practice is concerned – the firm is among the elite legal brands in Maryland, it has a tremendous litigation platform, and is rock-solid strong in the real estate and tax law, as well as in government affairs,” Mr. Fischer said. “It is, quite simply, the perfect home for the kind of work I do as a trial lawyer.”

Before joining DLA Piper in 1986, Mr. Fischer served as a member of the United States Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, where he was both a government appellate and trial counsel.

Mr. Fischer earned his J.D. from Washington and Lee University (1982) and his B.A. from Washington and Lee University (1980).


Note: An American Lawyer 100 law firm, Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in California, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia, Venable LLP lawyers and legislative advisors serve the needs of our domestic and global clients in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property, regulatory, and government affairs.