Recent Maryland Decisions – 4/20


Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was the appropriate sanction for an attorney who failed to keep his client reasonably informed of her case, retained more than twice his agreed-upon fee, failed to deposit unearned fees in his trust account, failed to remit a settlement payment to the client and did not respond to Attorney Grievance Commission’s repeated requests for information. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Nelson, No. 9, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0327-20


Criminal Law, Inconsistent verdicts: Defendant’s conviction for first-degree assault could have been based on a theory of aggravated guilt that was not legally inconsistent with the acquittal of defendant on related handgun charges. Dickerson v. State, No. 2977, September Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0330-04

Estates & Trusts, Interpretation of Will: Where the deceased’s last will and testament was ambiguous, extrinsic evidence of the surrounding circumstances was admissible to ascertain the deceased’s intent. Click v. Click, No. 2430, September Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0330-00

Evidence, Adoptive admissions exception to hearsay rule: A detective’s testimony as to defendant’s date of birth, learned through defendant’s production of his driver license, was admissible pursuant to the exception to the hearsay rule for adoptive admissions set forth in Rule 5-803(a)(2). Gordon v. State, No. 2968, September Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0330-03

Real Property, Foreclosure: Circuit court properly denied homeowner’s motion to vacate foreclosure sale of homeowner’s property and dismiss foreclosure proceedings stemming from homeowner’s default on promissory note held by substitute trustees, where homeowner had actual notice of foreclosure proceedings and substitute trustees satisfied burden of proving that they possessed promissory note currently and lawfully. Svrcek v. Rosenberg, No. 988, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0329-00

Real Property, Recordation tax exemptions: Tax court was correct in finding that economic development corporation, a state entity, was not exempt from paying recordation tax on a deed of trust, because tax was imposed on privilege of recording the document rather than on any particular party to the transaction, and corporation agreed to pay recordation tax even though it was not so required. Montgomery County v. Maryland Economic Development Corporation, No. 2763, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0330-02

Torts, Local Government Tort Claims Act: Pursuant to Local Government Tort Claims Act (LGTCA), wrongful death claims against police defendants arising from death of arrested man, brought by deceased man’s estate and his two sons, should have been aggregated with deceased man’s survival claim, resulting in total judgment of $200,000 under LGTCA provision capping liability of local government at $200,000 per an “individual claim.” Leake v. Johnson, No. 9, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0330-01

Torts, Transferred intent: Where defendant collided with plaintiff’s car while pursuing another car during a “road rage” altercation, circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment against plaintiff’s battery claim because there was no evidence that the defendant had intended to strike either vehicle. Hendrix v. Burns, No. 2039, September Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0329-02


Civil Rights, Americans with Disabilities Act: While police investigations are subject to Americans with Disabilities Act, accommodations provided by police to detained deaf man were reasonable under the Act due to the exigent circumstances involved in investigation of alleged domestic abuse. Seremeth v. Board of County Commissioners Frederick County, No. 10-1711. RecordFax No. 12-0312-60, 14 pages. Page

Labor & Employment, Supervisory harassment: In granting summary judgment for an employer in a lawsuit based on supervisory sexual harassment, the district court improperly drew inferences in the moving party’s favor and accepted the employer’s Faragher-Ellerth defense despite a genuine dispute of fact regarding the employer’s own tangible employment action against the plaintiff. Dulaney v. Packaging Corporation of America, No. 10-2316. RecordFax No. 12-0315-60


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