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Law digest – 7/23/14

MARYLAND COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS 

Civil Procedure, Notice of appeal: In a multi-party case, circuit court’s order dismissing claims without prejudice and expressly granting leave to file an amended complaint was not a final judgment, and, as a result, plaintiffs’ notice of appeal, filed after almost two months before a final judgment was subsequently entered, was premature and hence ineffective; therefore, plaintiffs’ appeal was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Doe v. Sovereign Grace Ministries, Inc., No. 917, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0626-01, 17 pages.

Civil Procedure, Preservation for appellate review: Defendant’s argument that trial court erred by failing to make a statutorily sufficient finding on the record that defendant voluntarily waived his right to a jury trial was not properly preserved for appellate review where defendant failed to object to trial court’s ruling that defendant “knowingly and voluntarily” waived his right to a jury trial. Meredith v. State, No. 1603, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0626-04, 7 pages.

Negligence, Presumption of negligence: Trial judge did not err in denying plaintiff’s requested jury instruction that when a lawfully stopped vehicle is rear-ended by another vehicle, there is a presumption of negligence on the part of the following driver which, plaintiff argued, would have shifted the burden of persuasion to the defendant, because under Maryland law a presumption in a civil case shifts only the burden of production; the ultimate burden of persuasion remains with the plaintiff. Cooper v. Singleton, No. 0849, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0626-03, 29 pages.

Real Property, Restrictive covenant: In a lawsuit by homeowners against defendant community improvement association seeking a declaratory judgment that plaintiffs were permitted to build despite a plat restriction to the contrary, the circuit court properly declined to apply offensive nonmutual collateral estoppel as urged by the plaintiffs, because the issues were not identical and because the previous holding represented an inaccurate application of case law and was expressly limited to the facts of that case.

Shader v. Hampton Improvement Association, Inc., No. 845, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0626-02, 41 pages.

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