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Law digest – 7/9/14

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS 

Constitutional Law, Sex offender registration: Retroactive application of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act is unconstitutional under Maryland law, notwithstanding the registration obligations placed directly on individuals by SORNA. Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Misc. Docket No. 1, Sept. Term, 2013, and Hershberger v. Roe, No. 103, Sept. Term 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0630-20, 42 pages.

Insurance Law, Business pursuits exception: To determine if a third-party complaint triggers the “business pursuits” exclusion in a homeowner’s liability insurance policy, an insurer must consider the continuity of the insured’s alleged business interests and the insured’s profit motive; as those factors were not apparent from insurer’s complaint seeking a declaration that it did not have a duty to defend, the circuit court’s summary judgment ruling was vacated and the case remanded for further analysis. Springer v. Erie Insurance Exchange, No. 79, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0624-21, 30 pages.

Real Property, Quick-take Condemnation: Pursuant to Baltimore City Code, the City may condemn property via “quick-take” proceedings to address a “hold-out” situation, in which the City seeks to acquire multiple properties for a single project and one or more property owners are unyielding, wanting to be among the last owners, in order to be able to demand higher prices for their property. Makowski v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, No. 81, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0624-20, 35 pages.

MARYLAND COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Civil Procedure, Savings provision: Where plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her medical malpractice claim and re-filed it after the statute of limitations had run, the action was time-barred; the “savings provision” of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article — which grants a 60-day window for refiling by a party whose medical malpractice action has been dismissed once without prejudice for failure to attach a report of an attesting expert to the certificate of a qualified expert — did not apply. Wilcox v. Orellano, No. 1420, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0624-01, 15 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Right to confrontation: Where circuit court permitted one DNA analyst to testify regarding the work of another DNA analyst and admitted the report of the non-testifying DNA analyst, defendant was denied his Sixth Amendment right of confrontation and his conviction was therefore reversed. Norton v. State, No. 2382, Sept. Term, 2008. RecordFax No. 14-0624-00, 21 pages.

Estates & Trusts, Conveyance: Decedent’s acts of executing a tenants by the entireties deed, informing his wife, and placing the unrecorded deed in a cabinet with the couple’s important papers were not effective to transfer title under the doctrine of constructive delivery because testator never relinquished control of the deed and, hence, no delivery occurred. Daniels v. Daniels, No. 415, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0624-02, 13 pages.

Torts, Local Government Tort Claims Act: In plaintiffs’ tort action against city for damages arising from an accident in which plaintiffs’ vehicle collided with a car driven by another woman, allegedly because of city’s failure to repair a damaged stop sign, a letter to the city from the other driver’s insurer was not sufficient notice to the city of the plaintiffs’ claims under the Local Government Tort Claims Act.

The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Stokes, No. 0333, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0625-00, 30 pages.

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