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Law digest: 3/7/11

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS

Administrative Law, Judicial review: Meaningful judicial review was possible where the Board of Appeals summarized substantial evidence in support of its conclusory findings that the variance applicants had failed to establish that their proposed development would not adversely affect water quality and that their variances were the minimum necessary to afford the applicants relief. Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays v. Moreland, LLC, No. 55, Sept. Term 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0128-21

Real Property, Deed in lieu of foreclosure: A deed in lieu of foreclosure executed as security at the time of loan origination is a mortgage, not an absolute conveyance, regardless of whether the deed purports on its face to be absolute and, therefore, foreclosure proceedings must be initiated before the mortgagor’s interest in the property can be extinguished. C. Phillip Johnson Full Gospel Ministries, Inc. v. Investors Financial Services, Inc., No. 115 Sept. Term, 2008. RecordFax No. 11-0128-20

MARYLAND COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Criminal Procedure, Reach-in searches: Where police partially exposed defendants’ buttocks during searches incident to their arrests, searches were reasonable because they were “reach-in” rather than strip searches. Allen v. State, Smith v. State, Nos. 1963, 1968, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 11-0204-00

Criminal Procedure, Restitution: Because a reasonable person in the defendant’s position would have understood the plea agreement as leaving open the possibility of restitution in the criminal proceeding, the trial court’s order of restitution did not constitute a breach of the defendant’s plea bargain. Lafontant v. State, No. 1228 Sept. Term, 2008. RecordFax No. 11-0203-00

Criminal Procedure, Voir dire: There was no plain abuse of discretion in trial court’s voir dire questioning of a panel of prospective jurors en masse and, in any case, no extraordinary circumstances were present to invoke appellate review of defendant’s unpreserved claim of plain error. Frazier v. State, No. 1472, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 11-0203-02

Real Property, Abatement of interest: Appellees were not responsible for interest accrued during the delay between the date set for final ratification of the foreclosure sale and the actual date of ratification since the delay was caused by the conduct of other persons beyond the power of appellees to control or ameliorate. Zorzit v. 915 W. 36th Street, LLC, No. 978, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 11-0202-00

Real Property, Ejectment: Tenant had the absolute right to obtain relief from the default judgment of possession entered against it in an ejectment action without having to comply with or satisfy the requirements of Rule 2-535(b). Priority Trust, LLC v. The Aliceanna Group, No. 1296, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 11-0202-02

Torts, Wrongful death: Trial court erred when it dismissed plaintiffs’ wrongful death claims without granting leave to amend their pleadings to name the decedent’s estranged son as a “use plaintiff” because the court failed to consider whether the son would be prejudiced by dismissal. Muti v. University of Maryland Medical Systems Corporation, No. 1991, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 11-0204-01

Workers’ Compensation, Out-of-state coverage: An endorsement in a Delaware contractor’s workers’ compensation policy, which provided coverage for temporary operations outside of the named state of coverage under certain circumstances, provided coverage for the injuries sustained by a nonresident employee of the subcontractor while working in Maryland. Zurich American Insurance Company v. Uninsured Employers’ Fund, No. 1509, Sept. Term, 2009. Record Fax No. 11-0203-03.