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Top 5: ‘I don’t think I can choose from among my children’

The Court of Appeals dominates the most-read legal affairs stories of the week — and only one story is related to an opinion. Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed a new judge to Maryland’s top court, which also took the rare step of withdrawing a decision it made in October. A Daily Record investigation into the judges’ financial disclosure forms found much of the information provided can be summed up in two words: no change.

Here are the Top 5 stories:

1. McDonald named to high court; Berger elevated to CSA — by Steve Lash

Gov. Martin O’Malley on named Robert N. “Bob” McDonald to Maryland’s highest court, succeeding Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr., who stepped down from the Court of Appeals in September.

O’Malley also elevated Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Stuart Ross Berger to the Court of Special Appeals, succeeding Ellen L. Hollander, who left in January for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell extended the court’s “most sincere welcome” to McDonald.

2. Court of Appeals withdraws decision, letting murder conviction fall — by Steve Lash

Maryland’s highest court has withdrawn a decision it took nearly three years to issue — which, in turn, erased the murder conviction the Oct. 25 decision had revived.

Monday’s one-sentence order offered little explanation for the court’s rare step, saying only that “in light of” a motion for reconsideration it had received, the Court of Appeals had concluded it should not have heard the case.

3. Wells Fargo sues developer Struever for $466K — by Ben Mook

Wells Fargo Bank filed a lawsuit against a subsidiary of Baltimore developer Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse over an unpaid line of credit apparently used to finance failed development projects in Rhode Island.

According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, SBER Development Holdings LLC took out a $2.4 million line of credit in 2007. The original loan was through Wachovia Bank, which was later absorbed by Wells Fargo. Struever Bros. exercised the full amount on the line of credit on March 6, 2009.

4. ‘No change’: Financial disclosure on the Court of Appeals — by Danielle Ulman

Look at this year’s financial disclosure forms from the judges on the Court of Appeals, and “no change” is the only disclosure you will find in many a category.

Since 1975, the Maryland Judiciary has given itself the option of filling out the bare minimum on financial disclosure forms, listing information only if it varies from the prior year’s filing.

Otherwise, “no change” is sufficient.

5. Parties settling Waverly school-bid litigation — by Ben Mook

The Timonium contractor that sued the Baltimore City school board for reverse discrimination after an unsuccessful bid to build the new Waverly Elementary School has dropped the lawsuit and says it will be awarded the project.

CAM Construction Co. Inc. sued the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners in August after it lost a $25 million school construction project despite being the low bidder. The case was dropped in September, with the right to reopen it, pending a settlement. That settlement fell through and the parties were scheduled to have a hearing last Friday.