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Law digest – 1/30/12

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS

Telecommunications, PSC’s duty to ensure quality: The Public Service Commission acted within its discretion in approving an incentive-based Alternative Form of Regulation as part of a settlement of six complaints about Verizon’s telecommunications service; and the PUC §4-301’s use of the term, “ensuring,” did not require that the PSC be completely certain that incentive strategy would result in compliance with standards. Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO v. Public Service Commission of Maryland, Verizon Maryland, Inc., No. 39, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax #12-0125-20.

Transportation Law, Driver’s license suspension: Administrative suspension of driver’s license for failure to submit to a chemical breath test was supported by substantial evidence, where the officer’s post-crash investigation (including witness statements, the license-holder’s presence at the scene of the accident and his admission to traveling from Delaware to Elkton) allowed her to reasonably infer that the license-holder had been driving under the influence of alcohol. Motor Vehicle Administration v. Carpenter, No. 44, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax #12-0125-21.

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Insurance, Determination of pre-disability earnings: In calculating the amount of pre-disability pay to determine a physician’s eligibility for long-term disability benefits, the plan administrator reasonably deducted the same extraordinary and start-up costs the physician had deducted on his federal income tax as necessary business expenses. Fortier v. Principal Life. Ins. Co., US4th No. 10-1441. RecordFax #12-0111-60.

Labor & Employment, Waiver of immunity from ADA claims: In a suit by a hearing-impaired employee against a public school board under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal court did not err in relying on a decision by the state’s highest court that found the state had waived its 11th Amendment immunity for claims of $100,000 or less. Lee-Thomas v. Prince George’s County Public Schools, US4th No. 10-1699. RecordFax #12-0111-61.