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Law digest – 6/18/14

MARYLAND COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS 

Civil Procedure, Discovery sanctions: Circuit court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing plaintiff’s medical malpractice case against defendants due to plaintiff’s repeated failures to comply with discovery deadlines, including orders of the court. Valentine-Bowers v. The Retina Group of Washington, P.C., No. 2117, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0529-00, 23 pages.

Corporations and partnerships, Membership: Where an architectural firm organized an LLC solely to own the firm’s property, and gave the LLC a purchase option on the interest of retiring members, the firm’s managing partner ceased to be a member of the LLC upon retirement; although the LLC did not exercise its option, he became an assignee of its unredeemed interest and, as an assignee, was not entitled to notice or to participate in decisions about selling the property. Thomas v. Bozick, Jr., No. 0269, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0528-01, 25 pages.

Family Law, Child’s home state: Under the applicable “totality of the circumstances” test, where child continuously resided in Indiana for over 17 months, moved with his mother to Maryland, but stayed for just one week before both returned to permanently reside in Indiana, the week-long stay in Maryland was merely a “temporary absence” from Indiana, and, therefore, Indiana was child’s “home state” for purposes of child custody determination. Drexler v. Bornman, No. 1394, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0528-02, 13 pages.

Zoning, Scope of district council’s review: When the district council exercised its discretion to “call-up” design plans that had been approved by the county planning board, its review was limited to determining whether the planning board’s approval was “arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory, or illegal”; by setting forth additional grounds for reversing the planning board’s decision, the district council acted outside its statutorily defined power. City Council of Prince George’s County, Maryland, Sitting as District Council v. Zimmer Development Company, Nos. 259 and 265, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0528-00, 24 pages.

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Civil Procedure, Final judgment rule: Appellate court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction defendant employer’s appeal of district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of plaintiff employees, because the lower court’s judgment did not determine all of the facts necessary to compute the amount of damages due and thus did not embody the essential elements of a final judgment for money. Calderon v. GEICO Insurance Company, No. 13-2096. RecordFax No. 13-0606-60, 15 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Sentence enhancement: District court erred by increasing defendant’s sentence for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon based on court’s determination that defendant’s prior conviction for fourth-degree burglary constitute a crime of violence because fourth-degree burglary in Maryland does not have as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another, and could include negligent conduct. United States v. Martin, No. 12-5001. RecordFax No. 14-0605-60, 40 pages.

Utilities, Preemption of subsidy: Maryland program to subsidize the participation of a new power plant in the federal wholesale energy market was preempted under Federal Power Act’s authorizing provisions, which grant exclusive authority over interstate rates to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. PPL EnergyPlus, LLC v. Nazarian, No. 13-2419. RecordFax No. 14-0602-60, 27 pages.

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