Kurt J. Fischer

Partner
Fischer Kurt

Kurt Fischer assists clients with complex real estate, public law and tax litigation involving eminent domain, real estate, tax, land use regulation, and state and local procurement matters. Kurt represents businesses, taxpayers, developers, and public utilities in federal and state courts, and before Maryland state commissions, including the State Board of Contract Appeals, Health Care Commission, Health Services Cost Review Commission, and the Public Service Commission.

Kurt represents property owners, public utilities and local governments in condemnation matters for public projects including highway and road realignments, landfills, high voltage transmission lines and sewer and water facilities, railroads and telecommunications lines. He also represents businesses and local governments in disputes involving easements and real covenants, sales and option contracts, leases and the dissolution and winding up of various business organizations.

On tax issues, Kurt frequently represents individual and corporate taxpayers and municipal governments in both the United States and Maryland Tax Courts. Many of the issues involved include the representation of interstate corporations in income tax apportionment disputes; corporations challenging sales and use tax assessments, individual and corporate property owners in appeals of real property tax assessments; and Maryland counties in claims brought by taxpayers for refunds of excise taxes, sewer and water connection charges and impact fees.

Kurt also represents local governments across Maryland in matters alleging due process and equal protection claims from land use decisions. He advises individuals, corporations and Maryland local governments on land use regulation and public law matters, including subdivision and building permit moratoria, adequate public facilities ordinances, sewer allocation policies and other land use regulation controls.

Before joining Venable, Kurt served as trial counsel and as an appellate attorney with the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG).  Former Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., appointed Kurt chairman of the Maryland Real Estate Task Force on Business Owner Compensation in Condemnation Proceedings in 2004. From 1994 to 2001, then-Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer appointed Kurt to the Maryland State Advisory Council on Administrative Hearings.

Experience

Government Experience

  • Chairman, Maryland State Real Estate Task Force on Business Owner Compensation in Condemnation Proceedings
  • Government Appellate and Trial Counsel, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps
  • Member, Maryland State Advisory Council on Administrative Hearings

Representative Matters

  • Represented numerous Maryland property owners in major condemnations brought by the State Highway Administration, including, among others, the U.S. Route 1 bypass in Harford County, the U.S. 301 bypass south of Waldorf, the realignment of U.S. Route 29, the realignment through River Hill, the last village of Columbia, and the Inter-County Connector
  • Represented the owner of a cemetery that was 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, and the Circuit Court ultimately entered a judgment on a jury verdict for more than $12 million for the acquisition of the entire property
  • Represented a national clothing store, as tenant, 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 more than 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. The Circuit Court’s decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (600 North Frederick Road, LLC v. Burlington Coat Factory of Maryland, LLC, Court of Appeals, No. 89, September Term 2010)
  • Represented a Maryland hospital, prevailed in a Certificate of Need proceeding before the Maryland Health Care Commission, in which the hospital objected to a project in which a competitor sought to relocate its facilities from an urban site to a suburban location. The parties filed pre-filed testimony, and an extended hearing was held on numerous issues relating to the relocation. After the hearing officer issued a proposed decision, finding that the project was not financially feasible, the competing hospital withdrew the application
  • Represented a Maryland agency in the acquisition of the B&O Warehouse property for the new baseball stadium in Camden Yards near the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore. Before the firm was retained, the state had deposited $11 million into court; however, the property owners claimed values close to twice that amount. Following a mini-trial in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, the case was settled for $11 million
  • Represented a Maryland county in the acquisition of a farm for the expansion of the county’s landfill. The case generated substantial publicity, including articles in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and newspapers in Frederick County, as property owners attempted to generate “Save the Farm” opposition to the taking. The case went to trial in circuit court and was settled after the fourth day, when the county challenged the admissibility of the property owner’s appraisal, leaving the property owners without any expert opinion regarding value
  • Represented a Maryland utility in the acquisitions of several properties in Howard County to construct the new Brighton–High Ridge high-voltage transmission line. The utility had been attempting to construct this line for more than 12 years, but encountered substantial opposition due to concerns over potential adverse safety and health effects. One case went to trial; all other cases ultimately were resolved by settlement. Represented Maryland counties in the acquisition of properties for major road projects
  • Represented a Maryland water and sewer utility in the acquisition of 46 acres from a 284-acre property for the construction of rapid infiltration sewage ponds. The commission’s appraisal of the diminution in value resulting from the partial acquisition of the property was $175,000, while the property owner’s demand was for $723,000. The case was settled before trial for $225,000
  • Represented Maryland counties in inverse condemnation actions brought by developers. In one case, to avoid denial of a pending subdivision application, the developer entered into an agreement with the county not to develop four 10-acre lots on the Miles River inhabited by nesting bald eagles and the Delmarva fox squirrel, both endangered species. When the county subsequently refused to remove the prohibition, the developer challenged the constitutionality of the agreement, claiming that it constituted a taking of private property without just compensation. The case originally was filed in federal court, where it was dismissed. After the developer refiled in circuit court, the county won summary judgment, affirmed on appeal to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals
  • Defended a Maryland county’s interim moratorium on land subdivision against three lawsuits alleging unlawful taking. One of the lawsuits, filed in federal court, where the plaintiff had raised other constitutional challenges alleging equal protection clause violations of the federal and state constitutions, was dismissed
  • Obtained dismissal of a federal lawsuit against a Maryland county that arose after the county’s planning department refused to approve plans for a proposed shopping center. The county had denied the proposed site plan because the center's complaint unsuccessfully alleged that the county's requirement to move the storm water facility constituted a taking without just compensation
  • Represented numerous Maryland corporations in disputes over the application of the state’s sales and use tax and income tax, including apportionment disputes, exemption disputes, and reallocations of subsidiary costs
  • Represented numerous property owners in real property tax appeals. Obtained a reduction of the full cash value of an office building from $35 million to $18 million, in one of the appeals
     

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. magna cum laude Washington and Lee University School of Law 1982
  • Order of the Coif

    Member, Washington & Lee Law Review

  • B.A. magna cum laude Washington and Lee University 1980
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland
  • Virginia, Associate Member (inactive)

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Court of Appeals of Maryland
  • Supreme Court of Virginia
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Military Appeals

Recognition
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  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2007 - 2020
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Included in Benchmark Litigation “Local Litigation Stars” for Maryland
  • Included in Maryland Super Lawyers, 2007 - 2018; named to “Top List,” 2013
  • Named to “Attorney Top List” in Super Lawyers Business Edition, Business Litigation, Baltimore, 2013
  • Top 100 Maryland Lawyers, Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers, 2012, 2013