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Kelly M. Preteroti

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Kelly M. Preteroti is an experienced trial lawyer focused on fiduciary litigation, business litigation, and municipal defense.

Featured Experience

Successfully defended a challenge to a multi-million dollar trust.

Aggressively defended a caveat dispute and related partition, resulting in dismissal of plaintiff's claims.

Successfully defended seven officers in a § 1983 case, obtaining dismissal of six officers prior to trial and the seventh officer at the close of a three-week jury trial.

Professional Biography

Overview

Ms. Preteroti is a skilled and aggressive litigator who spends a significant amount of time in the courtroom.

Ms. Preteroti takes a strategic and detail-oriented approach to each engagement, pushing hard for her clients in an effort to quickly and efficiently resolve each dispute. As an experienced trial lawyer, Ms. Preteroti knows what it takes to win cases and is relentless in her pursuit of a favorable outcome for her clients.

A large part of Ms. Preteroti's growing practice focuses on fiduciary litigation. Fiduciary disputes typically arise between individuals or financial institutions acting in a fiduciary capacity (such as a trustee or personal representative) and beneficiaries of a trust or estate. Ms. Preteroti understands the nuances of litigating these matters in all venues, including the courts that handle estate administration and estate-related disputes, which vary from state-to-state.

While some cases must be tried, Ms. Preteroti is a strong proponent of mediation and alternative dispute resolution, and has handled many mediations and arbitration proceedings. Before entering private practice, Ms. Preteroti worked for the Honorable Lynne A. Battaglia on the Commission on Professionalism, which was established to explore and monitor the implementation of the professionalism policies adopted by the Court of Appeals.

From 2007 to 2011, Ms. Preteroti acted as general counsel for the Baltimore Junior Association of Commerce. From 2011 to 2016, she sat on the board of directors of BMore Fit, a 501(c) (3) with the mission of providing Baltimore City youth with physical fitness skills for lifelong, healthy living. Ms. Preteroti presently serves as the secretary and treasurer for the Wednesday Law Club.

Representative Matters
  • Successfully defended a trustee in an action by a beneficiary involving breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud claims, resulting in payment by the challenging beneficiary of the trustee's attorneys' fees and outstanding commissions totaling more than $330,000 and dismissal of all claims, with prejudice.

  • Successfully pursued a claim of undue influence, recovering several hundred thousand dollars in estate assets.

  • Successfully defended a challenge to a multi-million dollar trust.

  • Successfully removed a trustee for mismanaging trust property.

  • Successfully resolved a declaratory judgment and removal action involving a contract to make a will.

  • Secured an order to divide and modify a trust in a hotly contested proceeding.

  • Awarded a verdict after trial directing the return of high-dollar estate property.

  • Awarded substantial attorneys' fees on behalf of a personal representative after defending the fiduciary in a removal matter through trial.

  • Forced opposing counsel to voluntarily dismiss a highly contentious caveat dispute and partition action.

  • Successfully resolved a dispute over the interpretation of a multi-million dollar trust.

  • Awarded a jury verdict of more than $400,000, with attorneys' fees, in a contract dispute related to real property.

  • Awarded dismissal at summary judgment and at the close of the plaintiff's case of seven officers in a 28 U.S.C. § 1983 action.

  • Awarded a jury verdict of more than $250,000 in a contract dispute over a franchise agreement.

  • Forced opposing counsel to voluntarily dismiss a lawsuit filed against a police officer after aggressively deposing the plaintiff in a highly publicized retaliation case.

  • Awarded dismissal, with prejudice, for a local fuel company in preliminary motions practice.

  • Forced opposing counsel to voluntarily dismiss a lawsuit filed against a police officer in a highly publicized wrongful death action.

  • Awarded summary judgment in an internet defamation case.

  • Awarded a temporary restraining order, preliminary, and permanent injunction to enjoin an employee from violating his non-competition agreement.

  • Aggressively defended a caveat dispute and related partition, resulting in dismissal of plaintiff's claims.

  • Successfully defended seven officers in a § 1983 case, obtaining dismissal of six officers prior to trial and the seventh officer at the close of a three-week jury trial.

Professional Honors & Activities

Professional Memberships

  • Member – American Bar Association (Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law)
  • Member – Bar Association of Baltimore City (Estates & Trusts Committee)
  • Member – Federal Bar Association
  • Member – Maryland State Bar Association (Estates & Trusts Section)

Community Service

  • Secretary/Treasurer – Wednesday Law Club

Honoraries

  • Listed as a Maryland Rising Star in Maryland Super Lawyers, General Litigation (2012 – 2015); Estates & Trust Litigation (2016)
  • Recipient – Ober|Kaler Pro Bono Distinguished Service Award (2008)
Professional Background
  • Summer Associate, Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver
  • Summer Associate, Brodsky, Greenblatt & Renehan, Chartered
  • Intern, the Honorable Lynne A. Battaglia, Court of Appeals, Annapolis
  • Intern, Ugaretti & Harris
Publications
Speaking Engagements
  • Panelist – "Maryland's New Elective Share Law: Adjustments and Opportunities," The Maryland State Bar Association Estates and Trusts Section & Learning and Publications Department (November 2019)
  • Co-presenter – "Nonjudicial Settlement Agreements: How Far is Too Far?," Advanced Estate Planning Institute, Maryland State Bar Association (May 2019)
  • Co-presenter – "Nonjudicial Settlement Agreements: Cutting Out the Court in Resolving Trust Disputes," Baltimore City Bar Association, Estates and Trusts Section (November 2018)
  • Presenter – "Nonjudicial Settlement Agreements: The Many Uses and Potential Pitfalls," Estate and Gift Tax Study (May 2018)
  • Presenter – Probate Litigation Bootcamp, Bar Association of Baltimore City (Estates & Trusts) (2017)
  • Presenter – "Where There Is a Will, Is There a Way?," A discussion on whether a post-death dispute over assets can be prevented, Wednesday Law Club (2017)
  • Presenter – "Fiduciary Litigation: Contesting and Defending Wills, Trusts, and Inter Vivos Transfers," Maryland State Bar Association (2015 and 2016)
  • Presenter – "Avoiding Estate-Related Disputes," a presentation for fiduciaries and Certified Public Accountants (2013)
  • Presenter – "Mediation – When to Use and How to Make it Effective," Webinar, Young Lawyers Division, American Bar Association (2012)

Education

  • University of Maryland School of Law, J.D., 2006, magna cum laude
  • Florida State University, B.A., 2002

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • Court of Appeals of Maryland
  • Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Featured Media

Baker's Dozen: Gift Giving
Publication / December 3, 2019
Baker's Dozen: Best Self-Care Tips
Publication / April 23, 2019

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