Recent Maryland Decisions – 3/27

COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Civil Procedure, In banc panel: CJ §1-403(c) was not violated where the case was heard in banc and a majority of the nine judges qualified to act decided each of the issues on appeal. Exxon Mobil Corporation v. Ford, No. 1804, September Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 12-0306-12.

Civil procedure, Expert witness opinion: Trial court abused its discretion in granting defendant a new trial based on its conclusion that opinion of plaintiff’s expert witness, a vocational rehabilitative counselor, was not supported by a sufficient factual basis, because counselor’s many years of experience, knowledge of the labor market, and skill in performing employment assessments qualified her at least to testify before the jury so that jury could weigh the evidence and reach a verdict, and in granting defendant a new trial, court interjected itself and confused the weight of the evidence with its admissibility. Yiallouros v. Tolson, No. 2773, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0302-04.

 Corporations & Partnerships, Piercing corporate veil: Absent a finding of fraud, the circuit court erred by finding defendant personally liable for the debts of the limited liability company solely owned by him. Serio v. Baystate Properties, LLC, No. 1441, September Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 12-0308-00.

Landlord/Tenant, Jury trial: In consolidated case involving action by landlord against tenants in which landlord sought to regain possession of property from “Tenant Holding Over” and action by tenants against landlord seeking damages for harassment and for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment or warranty of habitability, tenants were entitled to jury trial because claims were both legal and equitable in nature, tenants met threshold damages amount for a jury trial, and they made a timely demand for a jury trial; however, because circuit court properly disposed of case by directed verdict, court’s error in striking tenants’ demand for jury trial was rendered harmless. Sandler v. Executive Management Plus, Nos. 0732, 0752, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0301-01.

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Insurance Law, Coverage limited to time on risk: Insurer was liable for only 40 percent of damages assessed against the insured property owner/manager in a lead-poisoning case, because only 22 of the 55 months of plaintiff’s exposure fell within the policy period, and an insurance company cannot be held liable for periods of risk it never contracted to cover. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Ins. Co. v. Roberts, No. 10-1987. RecordFax No. 12-0203-60.

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