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Venable partner Kevin Shepherd was quoted in an article in the January 30, 2013 edition of The Daily Record about the impact of a decision issued by the Maryland Court of Appeals affecting title insurance companies. The court held that title companies have tort liability for negligent title searches. The court also held that Chicago Title, as title underwriter, was not vicariously liable for the negligence of the title companies that performed the search.

The article quotes Shepherd to the effect that the real life impact of the decision will be that title companies will expressly disclaim any tort liability for negligent title searches, which approach the court seemingly acknowledges in holding that exculpatory provisions are generally valid in Maryland. Practitioners should be vigilant in seeing whether the title companies take that approach in Maryland and, if so, whether the contract damages are limited to a specified dollar amount (e.g., the cost to perform the search).