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Law digest – 11/28/11

COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Civil Procedure, Discovery: In a medical malpractice action that some of the defendants settled prior to trial, those settlement amounts were not subject to discovery by the remaining defendants at the pre-verdict stage because the amounts did not, in any way, concern the facts relevant to the non-settling defendants’ liability or the extent of the plaintiff’s damages. Tempel v. Murphy, No. 1199, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-1028-00.

Civil Procedure, Final judgment rule: Judgment form signed by trial court, granting precise amount of jury verdict in favor of patient on medical malpractice claim against physician’s estate but failing to address issue of costs, was final and appealable because, under rule entitling prevailing party to costs unless the court orders otherwise, patient’s entitlement to costs was automatic and entry of costs was a ministerial function, omission of which did not affect the finality of judgment. Mattison v. Gelber, No. 1399, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-1028-02.

Contracts, Merger agreements: Where disclosure statement, which was evidence of an oral contract between consultant and client, contained inconsistent conditions for payment of consultant’s bonus, and consultant presented persuasive evidence to support his contention that his bonus fee was not contingent on an event argued by the client, the client was not entitled to summary judgment that it was relieved of liability. Ramlall v. MobilePro Corp., No. 01309, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-1028-01.

Criminal Procedure, Search & seizure: Defendant had no legitimate expectation of privacy in the common laundry room in which a gun was discovered, and he was not undergoing custodial interrogation at the time a cell phone was discovered; therefore, both items were admissible as evidence. Grymes v. State, No. 1838, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-1028-04.

Torts, Immunity: Under CJ §5–518, defendant, a county school board employee, was not completely immune from suit; rather, the board was required to indemnify and protect defendant from execution of a judgment against him. Board of Education of Prince George’s County v. Marks-Sloan, No. 1447, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-1028-03.

4TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Criminal Law, Possession of a firearm: Under its plain language, statute prohibiting possession of a firearm while “employed for” a convicted felon is not limited in application to only those hired for tangible compensation. United States v. Weaver, No. 10-4885. RecordFax No. 11-1024-61.

Criminal Procedure, Sentencing: In setting defendant’s base offense level at sentencing for being a felon in possession of a firearm, district court improperly relied on an unincorporated statement of probable cause to conclude that defendant’s prior state-court conviction for second-degree assault qualified as a crime of violence. United States v. Donnell, No. 09-4851. RecordFax No. 11-1027-61.

Immigration Law, Removal: Immigration judge was justified in denying aliens’ request for cancellation of removal where substantial evidence showed that they knowingly engaged in illegal smuggling of their children into the United States in violation of immigration laws, and hence lacked the requisite good moral character to be eligible for cancellation of removal. Ramos v. Holder, No. 08-1271. RecordFax No. 11-1021-60.

U.S. DISTRICT COURT, MARYLAND

Labor & Employment, Sex discrimination: Where undisputed evidence indicated that a company had fewer than 15 employees at the time sex discrimination allegedly occurred, the company was not an “employer” for purposes of Title VII, and the employee’s claim against it was dismissed. Tasciyan v. Medical Numerics, No. 11-1467AW. RecordFax No. 11-1028-40.