Jury deliberations in an Anne Arundel County capital murder case and a pioneering change in Maryland corporate law are among the most-read legal affairs stories of the week. The list also includes to titans of the Baltimore legal scene teaming up to take on Facebook and a Court of Appeals ruling on DNA evidence. The Top 5 stories are:
1. Angelos, Murphy file lawsuit against Facebook over privacy violations — by Steve Lash
Two renowned Baltimore plaintiffs’ attorneys have filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook Inc., claiming that the world’s most popular social networking website has violated federal and California laws designed to protect the privacy of consumers.
William H. “Billy” Murphy Jr. and Peter G. Angelos allege Facebook has surreptitiously used online tracking technology, or “cookies,” to keep tabs on its registered users’ activities, even when they have logged off of the website. Using this technology, Facebook has been able to see what other websites its members visit, Murphy and Angelos claim in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern California at San Jose.
2. Parents’ damages for stillbirth set at $800K — by Steve Lash
A Baltimore jury has awarded $400,000 each to two bereaved parents after finding a Glen Burnie gynecologist liable for the stillbirth of their child.
Jayme Krenzer and Houston Frey, through counsel, successfully argued that Dr. Pascale Duroseau committed medical malpractice by failing to monitor Krenzer’s pregnancy appropriately, to order tests and hospitalization when needed, and ultimately to prevent the death in utero of Baby Boy Krenzer.
Krenzer and Frey were both 19 years old during the pregnancy.
3. Benefit corporations spark interest and questions — by Ben Mook
In some ways, Taharka Brothers Ice Cream Corp. is like any small business with the goal of growing, making a profit and making it big — in its case, maybe even becoming the next Ben & Jerry’s.
While operating on a far smaller scale than the famed Vermont duo, Taharka Brothers shares its social-enterprise spirit in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. But there’s a key difference: while Ben & Jerry’s is now a subsidiary of Unilever, Taharka Brothers is the for-profit subsidiary of a Baltimore-based nonprofit, the Sylvan Beach Foundation Inc.
It’s an arrangement made possible by a pioneering change in Maryland corporate law that allowed companies to include doing good as a part of their business plan.
4. Top court rules DNA preservation law not retroactive — by Ben Mook
The Court of Appeals has ruled that the state law requiring the preservation of DNA evidence after conviction is not retroactive from when the bill was signed into law on Oct. 1, 2001.
Michael D. Washington-Bey had appealed his January 1990 rape conviction in Wicomico County Circuit Court. Washington-Bey claimed a law passed in 2001 requiring DNA evidence to be maintained for the length of the convict’s sentence should be retroactive.
5. Jury begins deliberations on Stephens’ fate — by Ben Mook
The jury that last week convicted Lee E. Stephens of first-degree murder began deliberating Wednesday afternoon whether he should be sentenced to death.
After hearing closing arguments from the state and the defense, the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court jury started deliberations at about 3:15 p.m. The jury can choose the death penalty, life with parole or life without the possibility of parole.