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Top 5: ‘Then he realized he was in over his head’

The family of a 25-year-old woman who died of lung cancer winning in a  Frederick County trial and how one man’s battle against his cooperative association over secondhand smoke might become an issue before the General Assembly are among the most-read legal affairs stories of the week. That list also includes how one woman’s medical malpractice lawsuit turned into a legal malpractice suit and an appellate court overturning a murder conviction. Here are the Top 5 stories:

1. Court of Special Appeals overturns murder conviction — by Danielle Ulman

A man convicted of murder is entitled to a new trial because his first jury heard, three times, that he was on parole at the time of the killing, the Court of Special Appeals held Monday.

The court said the prosecutor should not have referenced Marquis Evans’ parole in opening statements or solicited testimony that Evans “just got home” and was being supervised by a Violence Prevention Unit.

2. From medical-malpractice case to legal-malpractice claim — by Andy Marso

Linda Cartzendafner says her husband died of an infection after nurses at Ruxton SurgiCenter injected him with a needle that became unsterile during failed attempts to place an IV.

Cartzendafner filed a lawsuit Nov. 4 in Baltimore City Circuit Court — not against Ruxton or its staff, but against attorney Barry S. Brown, who she claims bungled her medical malpractice suit against Ruxton.

3. Jury awards $1.2M for cancer death at 25 — by Andy Marso

Laura Ann Collins fulfilled a lifelong goal when she started teaching kindergarten last year at St. Thomas More Academy in Frederick. By then, Collins knew she was dying of lung cancer.

Collins, 25, passed away in July. On Nov. 1, a Frederick County jury determined that her death could have been prevented if not for the negligence of her medical team. The jury awarded Collins’ parents and her estate more than $1.2 million in damages against Parkview Medical Group at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

Collins’ lawsuit, filed Aug. 25, 2010, foreshadowed her death.

4. Secondhand-smoke suit catches lawmaker’s eye — by Danielle Ulman

In the past, the cooperative association at Greenbelt Homes has taken action against residents for noise complaints, barking dogs and hoarding.

The association drew the line, though, when David S. Schuman wanted to confine his next-door neighbor’s smoking to a common area near his home.

“I don’t think cooperative living means one has to live with a health hazard that was created after I moved in by a neighbor,” Schuman said. “I would be just as upset if the neighbors were playing loud music every night at midnight.”

5. Trial of Jewish brothers accused in teen’s assault delayed again — by Andy Marso

The trial of two brothers accused of assaulting a black teen while they were working for a Jewish neighborhood patrol group has been postponed for the fifth time.

Avi Werdesheim, 21, and Eliyahu Werdesheim, 24, were scheduled to stand trial Monday in Baltimore City Circuit Court for beating a 15-year-old high school student a year ago while patrolling Northwest Baltimore as members of Shomrim.

The brothers have pleaded not guilty. Their trial is now set for Feb. 1.