Family Law (Opinions)


Guardianship — Assignment of guardian — Abuse of discretion On November 17, 2016, the Circuit Court for St. Mary’s County appointed Joshua Brewster, Esquire, as guardian of the property of Fred Gibbs Johnson, and Sandra Smith Johnson (Fred’s wife) and ...

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JUVENILE LAW -- SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE -- TRUANCY -- On April 9, 2014, the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, sitting as a juvenile court, convicted appellant, Wendy L., of a violation of the school attendance requirements law set forth in § 7-301 of the Education Article. Appellant was sentenced to two weekends of incarceration, which the juvenile court suspended. The trial court further imposed a period of three years probation. A timely appeal was filed in which appellant presents one question for our review: “Was the evidence insufficient to convict the Appellant of truancy because the State did not prove that her daughter skipped school?”

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TORTS -- MARYLAND TORT CLAIMS ACT -- TIMELINESS OF NOTICE -- This appeal arises from the dismissal by the Circuit Court for Calvert County of a complaint filed by appellant, Barbara Veres, on her own behalf and as mother and next friend of her son against appellee, the State of Maryland. The State, through the Calvert County Department of Social Services (“DSS”), initiated a child abuse investigation on April 27, 2011, after receiving a report from her son's doctor raising suspicions of child abuse. The same day, DSS placed her son in foster care, and the next day filed a petition for emergency shelter care of her son. After a hearing was held on April 28, 2011, the juvenile court denied the petition, and her son was returned to appellant. After completing its investigation, DSS made a finding of “indicated” child abuse on July 19, 2011, but did not identify appellant as the abuser. Thereafter, on December 19, 2011, DSS voluntarily dismissed her son's Child in Need of Assistance (“CINA”) case. On November 1, 2012, appellant gave notice to the State Treasurer of various tort claims against DSS and two social workers. Appellant, individually and on behalf of her son, filed suit against the State on July 24, 2013, alleging defamation and negligence. The State filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, which the circuit court granted on February 12, 2014. The court ruled that appellant’s suit was time-barred because appellant did not give notice to the State within one year of the date of the injury, as required by the Maryland Tort Claims Act (“MTCA”). On appeal, appellant raises one question for our review, which we have rephrased as follows: Did appellant timely notify the State of her claims pursuant to the Maryland Tort Claims Act?

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Department of Health and Mental Hygiene alleges that the juvenile court ordered DHMH to provide specific services to Dustin after he turned 21, at which point Dustin would no longer be subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, exceeding the authorization granted to the juvenile court. After reviewing the purported final judgment, we must conclude that this Court lacks the power to resolve any of those issues as there was no final order from which an appeal could be taken.

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Larry R. Brooks v. Charlene P. Brooks

I. Did the trial court have jurisdiction over the second supplemental counterclaim where wife failed to file a financial statement prior to trial, husband did not file an answer, and wife never sought a judgment by default? II. Did the trial court err when it refused to dismiss the supplemental counterclaim under the doctrine of res judicata or, in the alternative, collateral estoppel? III. Did the trial court err in ordering husband to pay back pendente lite alimony under a 2004 order after the case was closed and the order expired?

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John McNelis v. Susan Carrington

1. Was the trial court’s denial of the [a]ppellant’s [m]otion without granting the [a]ppellant a hearing he requested, legally correct when Maryland Rule 2-311(f) requires the trial court to hold a hearing before rendering a decision disposing of a claim or defense? 2. Did the trial court err[] in the calculation of the marital award as the calculation was made prior to the sale of the marital home?

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