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Law digest: 8/22/11

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS

Contract Law, Breach of actuarial contract: Defendant breached contracts to provide actuarial services to plaintiff by repeatedly misinterpreting a data code associated with survivors’ benefits, entitling plaintiff to recover lost contributions and lost interest on those contributions. Milliman v. Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, No. 102, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0720-21.

Criminal Procedure, Discharge of counsel: Judgment of the Court of Special Appeals, which granted defendant a new trial, is reversed because defendant’s vague and tentative indications that he wanted a “real lawyer” instead of his public defender were insufficient to implicate the statutory requirement for further inquiry by the trial court. State v. Northam, No. 65, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0815-20.

COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Family Law, Termination of parental rights: Based on the factors enumerated in FL §5–323(d), the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in determining that termination of appellants’ parental rights was in the best interests of the child. In re Adoption/Guardianship of Cross H., No. 1987, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0721-07.

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Criminal Procedure, Sentencing: Where defendant’s sentence of 210 months imprisonment for cocaine-related offenses was imposed pursuant to a plea agreement rather than based on a Sentencing Guidelines range, defendant was not eligible for reduction of sentence based on Guideline amendments, which retroactively reduced base offense levels applicable to cocaine offenses. United States v. Brown, No. 09-7561. RecordFax No. 11-0809-60.

Criminal Procedure, Sufficiency of evidence: Circumstantial evidence was insufficient to support jury verdict convicting defendant of interference with commerce through robbery and using and carrying firearm during and in relation to crime of violence, because there was no contemporaneous “identity” evidence linking defendant to robbery. United States v. Bonner, No. 10-4768. RecordFax No. 11-0805-60.

U.S. DISTRICT COURT, MARYLAND

Civil Procedure, Motion to unseal documents: Defendant’s motion to unseal the entire docket in a qui tam action filed against it was granted because the documents in the file did not contain confidential investigative techniques or substantive details regarding methods of investigation that could have jeopardized the prosecution of the case. United States v. Omnicare, Inc., Civil No. CCB–07–1283. RecordFax No. 11-0728-40.

Contract Law, Limitation of liability: Plaintiff had actual notice of the limitation of liability provision in its contract with defendant and, therefore, defendant’s motion for declaratory judgment limiting its liability was granted. Coutinho & Ferrostaal Inc., v. M/V Federal Rhine, Civil No. JFM–08–2222. RecordFax No. 11-0729-40.

Evidence, Wiretaps: Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained by electronic surveillance was denied because the affidavit submitted in support of the wiretap order provided sufficient probable cause and the wiretaps satisfied relevant statutory requirements. United States v. Fauntleroy, Criminal No. L–10–0336. RecordFax No. 11-0725-40.

Insurance Law, Attorney’s fees: The insurance policy between plaintiff and defendant did not authorize fee shifting and, therefore, defendant was not entitled to recover attorney fees in an action for breach of the insurance policy. National Casualty Company v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, Civil Action No. AW–05–1992. RecordFax No. 11-0728-41.