Recent Maryland Decisions – 6/1
Alternative Dispute Resolution, Statute of limitations: While non-binding arbitration, mandated by an employment contract, may have constituted a condition precedent to litigation, pursuing arbitration neither postponed the accrual of the underlying breach of contract claims, nor otherwise tolled the statute of limitations applicable to maintaining an action in court. Kumar v. Dhanda, No. 47, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0502-21
Civil Procedure, Failure to name use plaintiff: The circuit court erred in dismissing plaintiffs’ wrongful death action for failure to name a use plaintiff as a potential beneficiary. University of Maryland Medical Systems Corp. v. Muti, No. 42, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0503-20
Criminal Law, Indecent exposure: The statutory, specific-intent crime of indecent exposure by an inmate to a correctional officer did not preempt the common law offense of indecent exposure. Genies v. State, No. 11 September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0501-21
Criminal Procedure, Communications from jury: A jury note with no date or time stamp found in the appellate record did not establish that the trial court received the jury communication at issue in order to trigger statutory disclosure requirements under Rule 4-326(d). Black v. State, No. 73, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0503-21
Criminal Procedure, Merger of convictions: Where an ambiguity existed as to the factual bases for the defendant’s convictions for second-degree assault, under the required evidence test, the second-degree assault convictions merged into the conviction for resisting arrest. Nicolas v. State, No. 88, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0508-21
Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was the appropriate sanction for an attorney who violated several Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct, including the misappropriation of client funds, and who filed no exceptions to the findings of fact. Attorney Grievance Commission v. Goodman, No. 46 September Term, 2008. RecordFax No. 12-0501-20
U.S. 4th CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS
Civil Rights, Qualified immunity: In case against defendant bail bondsman for alleged civil rights violations, defendant was not entitled to jury instruction on defense of qualified immunity; therefore, any error in district court’s jury instruction on qualified immunity was not grounds for reversal of judgment against defendant. Gregg v. Ham, No. 10-1738. RecordFax No. 12-0430-61
Consumer Protection, Truth in Lending Act: For purposes of the Truth in Lending Act, which provides that an obligor’s right of rescission of a mortgage agreement for violations under the Act expire three years after the date of consummation of the transaction or upon the sale of the property, homeowners exercised right to rescind by notifying lender by letter of alleged violations and providing notice of their rescission of mortgage transaction; it was not required that they file lawsuit enforcing right of rescission within that three-year period. Gilbert v. Residential Funding LLC, No. 10-2295. RecordFax No. 12-0503-60
Criminal Procedure, Search & seizure: Police officers’ warrantless search of defendant’s home and resulting seizure of a gun found therein did not violate the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, because the search was justified as protective sweep and the seizure was warranted to ensure the safety of the officers and a special-needs child on the premises. U.S. v. Laudermilt, No. 11-4624. RecordFax No. 12-0503-62
Environmental Law, National Environmental Protection Act: State and federal agencies that approved construction of a new highway violated the National Environmental Protection Act because, in the statutorily required environmental impact statement, the agencies failed to disclose assumptions underlying the data on which a “no build” scenario was based, and provided the public with erroneous information. North Carolina Wildlife Federation v. North Carolina Department of Transportation, No. 11-2210. RecordFax No. 12-0503-61
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