Recent Maryland Decisions – 7/10

COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Real Property, Interpretation of deed: The circuit court did not err by declaring that plaintiff owned no interest in a 10-foot strip of land that borders property owned by both plaintiff and defendants, and that defendant holds all right, title and interest in and to the strip, subject to an easement. Annapolis Roads Property Owners Association v. Lindsay, No. 1380, September Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0604-01

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Bankruptcy Law, Absolute priority rule: As matter of first impression, the absolute priority rule continues to apply to individual debtors in possession proceeding under Chapter 11 following the 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, codified by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. In re Maharaj, No. 11-1747. RecordFax No. 12-0614-60

Civil Procedure, Jurisdiction over foreign corporations: The exercise of personal jurisdiction over foreign corporate defendants by a federal court in Virginia was consistent with due process, as the defendants purposefully availed themselves of the privilege of conducting activities in Virginia, plaintiffs’ claims arose out of those activities, and the exercise of personal jurisdiction was constitutionally reasonable. Tire Engineering and Distribution, LLC v. Shandong Linglong Rubber Company, Ltd., No. 10-2271. RecordFax No. 12-0606-60

Constitutional Law, Official action that shocks the conscience: In a case against the city fire department arising from the death of a volunteer firefighter recruit during a training exercise, the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs’ claim alleging that the fire department violated the decedent’s substantive due process rights by staging a training exercise with deliberate indifference to her safety, in a manner that shocked the conscience, because the facts alleged in the complaint did not support the conclusion that the fire department intended to harm decedent. Slaughter v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, No. 10-2436 (decided June 7, 2012) (Judges NIEMEYER, Davis & Wynn). RecordFax No. 12-0607-60

Criminal Law, Money laundering: Defendant’s money laundering convictions arising from transactions in which he simply paid “essential expenses” of his underlying fraud were reversed, because an individual cannot be convicted of money laundering for paying the essential expenses of operating the underlying crime and transactions therefore presented a “merger” problem. U.S. v. Cloud, No. 10-4057 (decided May 31, 2012) (Judges Gregory, Davis & DIAZ). RecordFax No. 12-0531-60

Criminal Procedure, Prison Litigation Reform Act: For purposes of “three strikes” provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, a district court dismissal may not act as a third strike, precluding a prisoner litigant from proceeding in forma pauperis on an appeal of the underlying dismissal. Henslee v. Keller, No. 11-6707. RecordFax No. 12-0605-60

Election Law, Regulation defining ‘independent expenditure’ under FECA: Under the “exacting scrutiny” standard, a regulation that defined when a communication “expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate” under the Federal Election Campaign Act was consistent with Supreme Court precedent, was not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad, and did not unlawfully deter protected speech. The Real Truth About Abortion, Inc. v. Federal Election Commission, No. 11-1760. RecordFax No. 12-0612-60

 Immigration Law, Mandatory detention: Title 8 U.S.C. Section 1226(c), which mandates that certain deportable criminal aliens be detained without bond “when” they are released from other custody, applied to the appellee even though he was not taken into immediate custody; therefore, the district court erred in ruling that he is entitled to a bond hearing. Hosh v. Lucero, No. 11-1763 (decided May 25, 2012) (Judges Keenan, Floyd & MOON (sitting by designation)). RecordFax No. 12-0525-60

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