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Law digest: 1/17/12


Criminal Law, Firearms: A “firearm” does not have to be operable in order to sustain a conviction under §5-133(c), which prohibits a person convicted of a crime of violence or other specified offenses from possessing a regulated firearm. Moore v. State, No. 20, September Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-1222-20.

Estates & Trusts, Release of liability prior to distribution: ET §9-111 entitles a personal representative to obtain a release when she requests one even if acting pursuant to a court-approved distribution. Allen v. Ritter, No. 16, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 11-1215-21.

Health care, Health Care Quality Improvement Act: Healthcare providers who disciplined doctor for unprofessional behavior were entitled to immunity under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986. Freilich v. Upper Chesapeake Health Systems, No. 4, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 11-1219-21.

Insurance, Fairness of hearing: The Maryland Insurance Administration’s hearing on cease-and-desist order was fair and without undue “command influence,” even though the Commissioner delegated that hearing and final administrative decision-making responsibility to a subordinate. Maryland Ins. Comm. v. Central Acceptance Corp., No. 7, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 11-1220-20.

Real property, Foreclosure by nonholder in possession: Defendants, as agents of the principal, were nonholders in possession of the negotiable instrument and were, therefore, entitled to enforce the plaintiffs’ mortgage through foreclosure. Anderson v Burson, No. 8, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 11-1220-21.


Admiralty Law, Constructive loss: Where plaintiffs’ yacht was damaged following an allision with an army vessel, doctrine of constructive loss applied to limit plaintiffs’ awardable damages to the market cost of the yacht. F.C. Wheat Maritime Corporation v. United States, No. 10-1906. RecordFax No. 11-1214-60.

Corporations and Partnerships, Remedies: Dismissal was warranted where former shareholder sued the corporation and its officers over the decline in share value, because he failed to allege facts showing the existence of a special duty between him and the defendants or that he suffered an injury separate and distinct from that suffered by other shareholders. Rivers v. Wachovia Corporation, No. 10-2222. RecordFax No. 11-1222-60.

Criminal Law, Conspiracy: Jury could find from totality of evidence that defendant had a continuous buy-sell relationship with drug suppliers and a standing agreement to bring their drugs to market in Virginia, evidence was sufficient to support defendant’s convictions. United States v. Hackley, No. 10-4069. RecordFax No. 11-1206-60.

Criminal Procedure, Confrontation Clause: Expert’s testimony and report, which included expert’s interpretation of raw data prepared by analysts not present at trial, did not violate the Confrontation Clause, because expert’s opinion was an “original product” that could be and was readily tested through cross-examination. United States v. Summers, No. 06-5009. RecordFax No. 11-1216-60.

Criminal Procedure, Good-faith exception: While the search warrant application and police officers’ supporting affidavit were defective, the officers acted with objective reasonableness in relying on uncontroverted facts known to them but inadvertently not presented to the magistrate, and good-faith exception to exclusionary rule therefore applied. United States v. Colline McKenzie-Gude, No. 10-4119. RecordFax No. 11-1216-61.

Criminal Procedure, Stop-and-frisk: Given the totality of the circumstances, which included gas station’s location in a high-crime area, suspect’s observation of attendant at 4:40 a.m. from an area not covered by the station’s surveillance cameras, and officers’ knowledge that the station had been the target of previous armed robberies, the stop-and frisk of suspect was supported by reasonable suspicion and did not violate Fourth Amendment. United States v. Glover, No. 10-4462. RecordFax No. 11-1209-60.

Criminal Procedure, Sentencing: Trial court erred in basing sentences for drug conspiracy on the total amount of oxycodone that had been legally prescribed to one of the defendants for back-pain management, since the government failed to show the entire quantity was within the scope of the conspiracy. United States v. Bell, No. 10-4644; United States v. Gibson, No. 10-4651. RecordFax No. 11-1221-60.

Labor & Employment, Black Lung Benefits Act: The lower court properly gave retroactive application to §932(l) of the amended Black Lung Benefits Act, which provides that an eligible survivor of a miner who was receiving benefits at the time of his death is automatically entitled to survivors’ benefits without having to establish that the miner’s death was due to pneumoconiosis. West Virginia CWP Fund v. Stacy, No. 11-1020. RecordFax No. 11-1221-60.

Labor & Employment, Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Act: Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law was not a fundamental public policy; therefore, choice of law provision in company profit-sharing plan designating New Jersey as forum for lawsuits was enforceable against former employee. Kunda v. C.R. Bard, Incorporated, No. 09-1809. RecordFax No. 11-1223-60.

Real Property, Truth in Lending Act: Lender did not violate the Truth in Lending Act’s disclosure requirements in providing a refinancing borrower with a rescission-rights form intended for use with new mortgages, because the form actually used included all of the “effects of rescission” mandated by the TILA and Regulation Z. Watkins v. SunTrust Mortgage, Incorporated., No. 10-1915, No. 10-1915. RecordFax No. 11-1214-60.