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Law digest: 2/6/12

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS

Commercial Law, Secondary Mortgage Loan Law: The Secondary Mortgage Loan Law does not restrict a mortgage lender to a single loan origination fee, as long as the aggregate fees charged and collected do not exceed the statutory maximum set forth in CL §12–405 and lenders are only required by the SMLL to provide a disclosure form to borrowers who intend to use the proceeds of their secondary mortgage loans for commercial purposes. Polek v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., Nos. 24, 25, 26, 38 and 80, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0124-20.

Criminal Procedure, Motion to correct illegal sentence: Where the defendant’s claim was not about alleged illegal sentences, but rather concerned an alleged procedural error, defendant’s complaint was not cognizable under Rule 4–345(a). Tshiwala v. State, No. 108, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 12-0123-20.

Real Property, Easement over unimproved land: Where the public’s use of the beach on defendants’ property was presumptively permissive and the plaintiffs failed to produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate that such use was adverse, plaintiffs failed to establish a public prescriptive easement. Clickner v. Magothy River Association, Inc., No. 13, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0120-20.

Real Property, Foreclosure fees: It was an abuse of discretion for trustees to impose a fee which required the purchaser at a foreclosure sale to pay additional legal fees incurred by the trustees since it was not in conformance with state or local rules and was against public policy. Maddox v. Cohn, No. 55, Sept. Term 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0124-22, 25 pages. Page

Real Property, Foreclosure purchaser’s liability: Absent special circumstances, a defaulting purchaser at a foreclosure sale of property is liable, under Rule 14–305(g), for only the one resale resulting from his or her default. Burson v. Simard, No. 35, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0123-22.

Torts, Defamation and false light: Defendants were entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims of defamation and false light, where the statements published by defendants were protected by the fair reporting and fair comment privileges. Piscatelli v. Smith, No. 18, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0123-21.

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Administrative Law, Civil commitment: The U.S. District Court did not err in finding that the government failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that defendant was “a sexually dangerous person,”; the court reasonably found one expert’s opinion to be more credible than the others offered as to whether defendant would have serious difficulty in refraining from child molestation if released, and the court’s factual findings were a permissible and reasonable interpretation of the evidence. United States v. Hall, No. 11-7102. RecordFax No. 12-0109-60.

Constitutional Law, Equal Protection: Federal statute authorizing the civil commitment of “sexually dangerous persons” within custody of the Bureau of Prisons did not violate Equal Protection Clause. There was a rational basis for distinguishing between sexually dangerous persons in and out of BOP custody, since individuals in BOP custody are one of the few groups within Congress’s limited police power. United States v. Timms, No. 11-6886, 11-6941. RecordFax No. 12-0109-60.

Criminal Procedure, Protective sweep of residence: Warrantless search of defendants’ home following defendants’ arrest for drug-related offenses was not unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment because, given that police officers observed seven vehicles parked on defendants’ property at 1:00 a.m. and that recent surveillance of defendants’ residence had revealed that known armed drug users were frequenting defendants’ house, officers were justified in performing a protective sweep of defendants’ home to determine whether other dangerous persons were in the residence. United States v. Jones, No. 10-4442. RecordFax No. 12-0113-60.

Immigration Law, Asylum: The BIA abused its discretion by failing to explain why it found that a Honduran asylum-seeker had not satisfied his burden of proving that it was more likely than not that if he was removed to Honduras, he would endure torture as defined under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Punishment. Zelaya v. Holder, No. 10-2401. RecordFax No. 12-0111-61.