Recent Maryland Decisions 9/14

Administrative Law, Private cause of action: TP §21-809, which authorizes the use of speed monitoring systems on certain roads, does not provide an express or implied private cause of action in tort.Baker v. Montgomery County, No. 124, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0821-22, 28 pages.

Civil Procedure, Court rules: In wife’s appeal of child custody case on basis that her due process rights were violated by unwritten circuit court policy limiting counsel’s access to custody investigation report, remand to circuit court for supplementation of record was appropriate because record did not illuminate sufficiently full contours of circuit court policy, its origin, balancing of the interests sought to be protected by it against competing interests, whether less restrictive alternatives were considered, and any special or compelling reasons for policy. Sumpter v. Sumpter, No. 120, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0821- 24, 29 pages.

Criminal Law, Counterfeiting : In defendant’s trial for counterfeiting, State was not required to prove that defendant acted with intent to defraud a particular person, because evidence showing that defendant recorded deed he had altered was sufficient to show defendant’s intent to defraud another. State v. Neger, No. 108, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0820-20, 23 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Potential confusion of jury: The trial court’s refusal to allow a discussion of extraneous legal standards was not an abuse of its broad discretion in controlling the scope of closing argument so as to avoid potential confusion of the jury. Ingram v. State, No. 121, September Term, 2011.RecordFax No. 12-0821-23, 21 pages.

Labor & Employment, Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights: Grievance filed by police union pursuant to its collective bargaining agreement with county did not implicate Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, because it involved union’s assertion of its own rights and contained no allegation that the county’s practice affected the substantive rights of an officer; therefore, LEOBR did not preempt collective bargaining and arbitration of underlying grievance. Montgomery County v. Fraternal Order of Police, No. 105, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0820-21, 24 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Denial of application for admission to bar: Petitioner’s application for admission to the Maryland Bar was denied because, by omitting key information about his criminal history, among other things, his application was incomplete and misleading, and he thus failed to meet his burden of proving that he possessed the requisite moral character and fitness to be a member of the Maryland Bar. Matter of the Application of Cramer, Misc. No. 19, September Term, 2006. RecordFax No. 12-0821-26, 19 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was the appropriate sanction where attorney violated several of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct, including charging an unreasonable fee, while an attorney disciplinary proceeding was pending against him at the time he committed the acts in question. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Lawson. Misc. Docket AG No. 4, September Term, 2008. RecordFax No. 12-0821-27, 20 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was the appropriate sanction where attorney was unresponsive to his clients, changed offices without telling them, failed to keep them informed about their matters, and instructed them to lie to the court about the nature of his representation. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Nnaka, Misc. Docket AG No. 52, September Term, 2008. RecordFax No. 12-0821-28, 16 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was appropriate sanction for attorney who engaged in conduct involving fraud, dishonesty and deceit, failed to communicate with clients about status of cases, misappropriated clients’ funds, and created false records to conceal his behavior in response to disciplinary investigation. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Ross, No. 19, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0821-25, 40 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was appropriate sanction for attorney who engaged in conduct violating numerous Rules of Professional Conduct, including charging an unreasonable fee by requiring two clients to pay a “non-refundable engagement fee,” which did not require attorney to perform any legal services or other duties in return. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Stinson, Nos. AG 30, AG 70, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 12-0821-29, 55 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was appropriate sanction for attorney who misappropriated client funds, despite fact that attorney was acting as caretaker for her parents who were ill with cancer, because attorney’s family obligations did not constitute sufficient mitigation of attorney’s dishonesty and deceit. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Zimmerman, No. 32, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0821-20, 29 pages.

Real Property, Foreclosure: Although a notice of intent to foreclose should ordinarily identify each “secured party,” failure to do so is not automatically a basis for dismissing the action where, as here, the notice identifies a secured party and contains other required information to allow the borrower to pursue loan modification, the other secured party is elsewhere disclosed well in advance of the sale, and the borrower failed to move to dismiss the action on the grounds of defective notice for more than a year after such disclosure. Shepherd v. Burson, No. 110, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0820-23, 23 pages.

Real Property, Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act: Under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, when a purchaser at a foreclosure sale sends a bona fide tenant contradictory and misleading notices concerning the right to remain in a residence, the purchaser has not met its obligation to provide accurate advance notice. Curtis v. US Bank National Association, No. 96, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0820-22, 18 pages.

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