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Law digest: 8/15/11

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS

Contract Law, Waiver of conditions precedent: A party may waive, by its actions or statements, a condition precedent in a contract, even when that contract has a non-waiver clause; however, whether defendant’s actions amounted to a waiver was a dispute of material fact that could not be resolved on summary judgment. Hovnanian Land Investment Group, LLC v. Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, LLC, No. 71, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-720-20.

Evidence, Admission of alibi notice: Defendant’s redacted pre-trial alibi notice was inadmissible “consciousness of guilt” evidence, and the erroneous admission of the alibi notice was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Simms, No. 112, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0715-22.

Labor & Employment, Wrongful discharge: Plaintiff’s wrongful discharge action was dismissed for failure to state a claim because plaintiff failed to identify any clear mandate of public policy allegedly violated by defendant. Parks v. Alpharma, Inc., No. 115, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0719-20.

Torts, Local Government Tort Claims Act: Plaintiff’s action for discrimination was dismissed because he failed to plead satisfaction of the notice provisions of the Local Government Tort Claims Act. Hansen v. City of Laurel, Maryland, No. 78, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0715-21.

COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Administrative Law, Collateral estoppel: Where there was a finding of child neglect in a prior administrative case, the doctrine of collateral estoppel applied to bar the mother’s appeal of the ALJ’s finding of indicated child neglect in a subsequent Child in Need of Assistance case. Department of Human Resources v. Cosby, No. 256, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0711-00.

Family Law, Custody: In a case involving a custody dispute, it was improper for the circuit court to issue an order providing that, in the event that the parents could not reach a mutual agreement on any disputed matter regarding the minor children within 24 hours, the children’s best interest attorney would serve as the “tie-breaker” and resolve the dispute. Van Schaik v. Van Schaik, No. 1924, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0711-04.

U.S. DISTRICT COURT, MARYLAND

Civil Procedure, Removal: In a lawsuit originally filed in state court involving federal claims against two defendants, it was sufficient for one defendant’s notice of removal to state that defendant had confirmed with co-defendant’s counsel that co-defendant had agreed to the removal of the action to federal court. Mayo v. Board of Education of Prince George’s County, Civil No. JFM-11-1-52. RecordFax No. 11-0714-40.

Civil Procedure, Standing: A nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring equal opportunities in housing for persons with disabilities had organizational standing to sue a residential property company under the Fair Housing Act because the defendant company’s violations perceptibly impaired the organization’s ability to advance its mission. Equal Rights Center v. Equity Residential, Civil Action No. CCB-06-1060. RecordFax No. 11-0722-40.

Labor & Employment, Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act: Secretary of Labor was entitled to judgment as a matter of law in lawsuit seeking to overturn a union election on the grounds that the election violated the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (“LMRDA”), where it was undisputed that the union used the employer’s fax machines, copiers, computers, and email system on behalf of candidates. Solis v. Local 9477, Civil Action No. JKB-09-3375. RecordFax No. 11-0721-40.