Recent Maryland Decisions

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS

Family Law, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act: Guardianship decree issued in Japan did not sever father’s custodial rights to his daughter, and therefore did not implicate fundamental principles of human rights; as such, “vacuum exception” to application of Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, allowing for a Maryland circuit court to exercise jurisdiction, did not apply. Toland v. Futagi, No. 83, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0328-20

COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Real Property, Easements: Defendants were entitled to a declaratory judgment because plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie claim for establishing an ingress/egress easement to his property. Bacon v. Arey, No. 2339, September Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0329-03

Workers’ Compensation, Offset for service pension benefits: Widow’s claim for dependent benefits following the death of her husband, a firefighter, was subject to the general offset provision in force at the time of his death from an occupational disease; a subsequent amendment to the offset provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act did not apply retroactively because it altered the vested rights of the worker and the employer. Johnson v. Mayor, No. 1707, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0329-01

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Civil Procedure, Driver’s Privacy Protection Act: Buyers’ claims under Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994 failed as matter of law, because, where solicitation by lawyers is an accepted and expected element of conduct satisfying DPPA’s litigation exception, such solicitation is not actionable by persons to whom the personal information pertains. Maracich v. Spears, No. 10-2021. RecordFax No. 12-0404-60

Criminal Law, Bribery: With regard to congressman’s bribery convictions, the jury was properly instructed as to the definition of “official acts” and the “quid pro quo” element of the federal statute. United States v. Jefferson, No. 09-5130. RecordFax No. 12-0326-60

Criminal Procedure, Consent to search: Police search of home shared by defendant and his aunt was not invalid for lack of consent, because, even though defendant had previously refused to consent to search, aunt consented and defendant was not physically present to object to her consent. United States v. Shrader, No. 10-5169. RecordFax No. 12-0404-61

Health Care, Stark Law litigation: In a case alleging violations of the Stark Law and seeking compensation under the False Claims Act and equitable theories, the lower court violated the defendant hospital’s right to a jury trial by ordering it to pay $44 million on the equitable claims, based on the jury’s answer to a special interrogatory, after the setting aside the verdict in its entirety and granting a new trial on the False Claims Act counts. U.S. Ex Rel. Drakeford v. Tuomey Healthcare System, No. 10-2316. RecordFax No. 12-0330-60

Immigration Law, Waiver of inadmissibility: Section 212(h) of Immigration and Nationality Act, which bars aliens who have committed aggravated felonies and who have previously been admitted to the United States with lawful permanent resident status from seeking a waiver of removal, did not bar alien who adjusted post-entry to lawful permanent resident status from seeking a waiver of inadmissibility. Bracamontes v. Holder, No. 10-2033. RecordFax No. 12-0329-60

Telecommunications, Denial of application for new wireless tower: Under Telecommunications Act of 1996, city’s denial of telecommunications company’s zoning application to construct new wireless communication tower near elementary school was properly reversed because denial, which revealed no widespread local opposition to the tower, for example, was not supported by substantial evidence. T-Mobile Northeast LLC v. City Council of the City of Newport News, No. 11-1293. RecordFax No. 12-0326-61

Torts, Defamation: District court properly dismissed claims against defendants for unfair and deceptive trade practices and defamation, because plaintiff failed to assert any argument that unfair and deceptive trade practices count was not covered by liability waivers signed by plaintiff, and complaint failed to allege facts sufficient to show that allegedly defamatory statements made by defendants about plaintiff, a public figure, were made with actual malice. Mayfield v. National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., No. 10-2437. RecordFax No. 12-0326-62

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