William J. Thomas
Senior Underwriter
Pinnacle Title & Escrow Inc.

In a recent round of professional e-mails that floated through an industry platform, there was a remark that many “newbies in the profession as well as “old-timers” could use a quick resource for finding important cases, statutes and computer links. Below is a list of helpful links and cites which may be found to be useful.

After September 11, 2001, the Federal Government under the Patriot Act and Presidential Executive Order that followed, made our industry one where it was mandated for practitioners to confirm if any of the parties in a transaction are on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List of the United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control. Some industry insurers have processes in place to computerize the search. The list can be downloaded in Portable Document Format (PDF) and then pertinent pages printed out. Here is the link:

Since the late 1990’s, there has been a push for the computerization of Land Records in the anticipation of e-filing and in consideration for the Clerk’s to use modern computer technology for scanning and indexing documents. Even though these are not official records, the Internet Maryland LANDREC system is a very helpful source since it is a Digital Image Retrieval System for Land Record Indices in Maryland and is a Joint eGovernment Service of the Maryland Judiciary and the Maryland State Archives. Sign up is required. Here is the link:

The Assessment Records for properties located in the State can be found at the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation, Real Property System website. The location is:

At times, owners of record are entities. Many of the States have their own corporate charter division with computerized entity information freely available. Much information for Maryland can be found under Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation Charter Record Search website. The location is

Many abstractors note exceptions on their reports that there are restrictions “as noted on the recorded plat(s)” without listing them specifically. Without debating the sufficiency as to this reporting, for the examiner to find the plats throughout the State, one can go through the LandRec system or directly through the Maryland State Archives Geographical Services Digital Image Reference System for Land Survey, Subdivision, and Condominium Plats at the following: Username: plato Password: plato#

Deaths of Owners in the chain of title, can be problematic for the examiner. Many offices of the Register of Wills for the State of Maryland have death information for Decedents. The Link is:

Montgomery County, Maryland’s link is:

It is generally may be helpful to have evidence of the date of death if a Death Certificate can not be located. One place that is helpful is the Social Security Death Index. Each underwriter may have their own opinion as to its use as an examining tool but as an alternative to the Death Certificate copy or Register of Wills information, this free source could be helpful. You can Google to find this index and there are a number of genealogical research sites that have this. Here is one link that can be utilized:

Potential federal Bankruptcy filings nationally and locally would have an affect on the title to property. Also, the filing of Federal Civil Judgments in favor of the United States in areas where there is a Bankruptcy Court sitting (Baltimore City and Prince George’s County) would also have a detrimental effect. Since the cost of use is so inexpensive per case, the prudent examiner should run the PACER System for current owners and purchaser for each case. What is PACER? PACER is an acronym for the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) which is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts, and from the U.S. Party/Case Index. The link is as follows:

There is a debate as to the effectiveness of property street addresses as part of the description of the property. Many jurisdictions in Maryland use them while others do not. Since the address is useful as to some of the new ALTA products, it is good to include them somewhere close to the formal legal description which comprises the requirements of Real Property Article §4-101 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Some rely on the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation, Real Property System records or that from the US Postal Service. When a discrepancy exists, one learns that the street addresses and zip codes are set by the post office and planning departments. Unless there is a discrepancy, it may be best to rely on the US Postal Service Zip Code Look-Up site for the information. This site is:

At times, it has been helpful when examining property searches for my Frederick County settlements to use the Frederick County Street Index. The site is:

Another source of information to get Maryland information is the Nationwide Environmental Title Research, Online or NETRO website. That website is located at:

For actual real estate taxes, many of the County sites are online. Even though not exhaustive, here are links for several jurisdictions:

Montgomery County

Prince George’s County


Anne Arundel, Calvert, Cecil, Frederick, and Howard
(For those Frederick County areas that have special Community Development Assessments, they are on the tax bills however, if unsure as to their accuracy you can get information from the servicer:

MuniCap Public Finance
10015 Old Columbia Road, Suite B-215
Columbia, MD 21046
Tel: (410) 290-5935
Fax: (410) 290-7665

Baltimore City

Charles County

Baltimore County

At times, tax rates for new homes must be calculated. The Tax Rates are found on each county’s site. A simple spread sheet can be developed to help calculate estimated levy’s for improvements and the required escrows to be held. In Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (Front Foot Benefit Charges) can be investigated. Here is the link to investigate these charges

At times, if an abstractor reports a case, sometimes dockets of the case may not come or you might want to investigate a reported case if a gap has occurred and you need current information form a pending case. Here is a link that is not to be considered the official record index for a county but a very useful tool to check out case dockets for both Circuit and District Courts. It is the Maryland Judiciary Case Search system.

Although the following is not the full method for doing complete and accurate legal research for an issue, the following may be helpful as a quick starting point. The FASTCASE research site is a tremendous help. For members the access point is:

Also, free Maryland Case Law can be found at the Maryland State Appellate Courts website. Even though it may be difficult to use at times, with a reference, cases can be found at no charge. The link is:

Maryland statutory law can be found at two sites. The first, using phrases to search, is:

The second, if the actual reference is known, is:

In order to find Maryland Regulations under COMAR, use this link:

Many Counties have their Codes on the web. These Codes are useful for researching exemptions and recording requirements. This list is by no means exhaustive:.
Montgomery County Code

Prince George’s County Code (Index)

Baltimore City Code

Unreleased Deeds of Trusts are pesky items and chasing releases has been a messy and undesirable business. However, to help track entities the following sites have been helpful:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Directory

Sometimes there is a need to obtain information as to Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) forms. For those interested in the site, go to:

Obtaining access to American Land Title Association (ALTA) Forms may be helpful. For access to the forms site:

Sometime a specific non-ALTA endorsement may be needed. Two major sources of other commonly used title endorsements are California Land Title Association (CLTA)

and Land Title Association of Arizona (LTAA).

Here is a brief list of frequently used Codes, Statutes, Regulations and Cases:
Annotated Code of Maryland
Business & Professional Occupation Article §10-101 and §10-102
Business & Professional Occupation Article §17-524
Commercial Law §12-120
Constitution Article IV, Section 45.
Corporation & Associations Article §1-303
Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article §5-106 and §5-114
Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article §10-204 and §10-803
Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article §11-401 and §11-402 and §11-801 and §11-802
Criminal Law §9-101
Estates & Trusts Article §1-210
Estates & Trusts Article §3-101 to §3-105 and §3-110 and §3-202
Estates & Trusts Article §4-101
Estates & Trusts Article §7-401
Estates & Trusts Article §9-105
Estates & Trusts Article §10-105
Estates & Trusts Article §13-601 to §13-602
Estates & Trusts Article §15-104
Family Law Article §5-328
Family Law §10-140
Land Use Article 66B §1 and §5.05 and §5.04
Natural Resources § 8-1006
Real Property Article §1-102 and §1-103
Real Property Article §2-101
Real Property Article §2-104 to §2-106; §2-108 to §2-110; §2-112; §2-115 to §2-117 and §2-122
Real Property Article §3-101 to §3-102 and §3-104 and §3-108 and §3-108.1
Real Property Article §3-202 and §3-203
Real Property Article §3-301 to §3-302 and §3-304
Real Property Article §3-501
Real Property Article §3-601
Real Property Article §4-103 and §4-106 to §4-109 and §4-111
Real Property Article §4-201 to §4-202 and §4-204
Real Property Article §7-104 and §7-109
Real Property Article §9-102 and §9-104 and §9-105
Real Property Article §8-110 and §8-402.3
Real Property Article §11-106 and §11-120
Real Property Article §14-104; §14-112; §14-113; §14-116 to §14-117; §14-122 and §14-127
Real Property Article §14-201 to §14-206
Rules of Interpretation Article 1 §6; §9; §11; and §24.
State Government Article §18-105 and §18-108 to §18-109 and §18-112 to §18-113
State Government Article §19-101 to §19-105 and §19-107 to §19-111
State Government Article §19-202 to §19-203 and §19-205
Tax General Article §7-201 and §7-203
Tax General Article §7-302 and §7-308
Tax General Article §7-503
Tax General Article §10-101
Tax General Article §10-912
Tax General §13-802 and §13-805 to §13-809
Tax Property Article §12-101 and §12-103 to §12-106 and §12-108 to §12-109 and §12-110
Tax Property Article §13-101 to §13-102
Tax Property Article §13-202 to §13-204 and §13-206 to §13-208
Tax Property Article §13-301 to §13-305 and §13-308
Tax Property Article §13-401 to §13-402.1 and §13-403 and §13-408

Maryland Rules Section 12-102

United States Code
11 USC 704
11 USC 1302 and 1303 and 1306
12 USC 1701j-3
26 USC 2001 and 2010 and 2501
26 USC 6321 through 6324
28 USC 3201
31 USC 5312

Baltimore City Code
Article 13 §6-1 to §6-10
Article 28 §16-1 to §16-2
Article 28 §17-1 to §17-16

Montgomery County Code
Section 52-16B
Section 52-19 to Section 52-24 and Section 52-24C and Section 52-27

Prince George’s County Code
Article 10 Sections 187 to Sections 192
31 CFR 594.202 and 31 CFR 594.202
24 CFR 3500.2; 24 CFR 3500.7; 24 CFR 3500.8 ; 24 CFR 3500.10; 24 CFR 3500.12; 24 CFR 3500.17 and 24 CFR 3500 Appendices (all).

COMAR to §9:13.06.12

Case Law

Harman v Hurst 160 MD 96; 153 A 24; 1931
Greenpoint v Schlossberg  390 MD 211; 888 A2d 297; 2005

Watson v. The Calvert Building and Loan Association of Baltimore City 91 Md. 25; 45 A. 879; 1900

Brewer v. Bowersox, 92 Md. 567; 48 A.1060; 1901 as quoted in State of Maryland v.One 1984 Toyota Truck, 69 Md.App. 235; 517 A.2d 103; 1986.

Young v. Cockman, 182 MD 246; 34 A2d 428; 1943

Eastern Shore Building and Loan Corporation v.Bank of Somerset, 253 Md. 525; 253 A.2d 367; 1969

Edwin M. Alexander, Adm’r of Estate of Evelyn Virginia Alexander, etc. v. Mehrl T. Boyer, Ex’r under Last Will and Testament of Helen M. Boyer, 253 Md. 511; 253 A.2d 359; 1969

McManus v Eva Sampson Summers, Administratrix of the Estate of Mary Sampson Smith;  290 Md. 408; 430 A.2d 80; 1981.

United States v. Craft, 535 U.S. 274; 2002

John W. Belt, Clerk of the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County v.Prince George’s County Abstract Company,  73 Md. 289; 20 A. 982;  1890

Himmighoefer  v. Medallion Industries, Inc. ,302 Md. 270;  487 A.2d 282; 1985

Boucher v. Boyer  301 Md. 679; 484 A.2d 630; 1984.

Automobile Acceptance Corp. v. Universal C. I. T. Credit Corp., 216 Md. 344; 139 A.2d 683; 1958

Manor Real Estate Company v. The Joseph M. Zamoiski Company.251 Md. 120; 246 A.2d 240; 1968

Morris v. Ehlers 211 Md. 23; 124 A.2d 776; 59 A.L.R.2d 1035; 1956
King v. Bankerd 303 Md. 98; 492 A.2d 608; 1985

Gebhardt Family Investment, L.L.C., et al. v. Nations Title Insurance of New York, Inc.752 A.2d 1222; 2000

Chevy Chase Bank, FSB v. Chaires 350 Md. 716; 715 A.2d 199; 1998

Richardson v Makowski et al Unpublished Court of Special Appeals No. 1343 September 1985        

Corcoran v. Abstract and Title Company of Maryland, Inc.; 217 Md. 633; 143 A.2d 808 1958.

Long et ux. v Dixon et al 201 Md. 321; 93 A.2d 758; 1953 quotes Drury v. State Capital Bank, 163 Md. 84, 161 A. 176

Schlosser v. Creamer  263 Md. 583;  284 A.2d 220; 1971.

Rossville Vending Machine Corporation v. Comptroller of the Treasury 114 Md. App. 346; 689 A.2d 1295, 1997

Roper v. Camuso Court of Appeals of Maryland, No. 100 September Term, 2002 Opinion filed: July 30, 2003

Miller v. Kirkpatrick Court of Appeals of Maryland, No. 2 September Term, 2003, Opinion filed: October 9, 2003

Stansbury v. MDR Development, L.L.C. 390 Md. 476 889 A.2d 403, 2006.

Drolsum v Luzuriaga 93 Md.App. 1;  611 A.2d 116, 1992.

Hopefully, the practitioner will find this list and provided links useful for servicing their clients.