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Top 5: ‘There are no easy fixes’ (access required)

News out of the state appellate courts dominates the most-read legal affairs stories of the week. The Court of Appeals disabarred one lawyer, threw out attorneys' fees for another and heard an appeal by the former state public defender. The Court of Special Appeals also was asked to vacate its decision overturning much of Jacksonville residents' $150 million judgment against Exxon Mobil. Here are the Top 5 stories: 1. Top court disbars Hunt Valley attorney, scolds her counsel -- by Ben Mook In disbarring a Hunt Valley lawyer, the state’s highest court added a written admonishment to the woman and her counsel for an “unprecedented lack of common respect and decency” during the proceedings. The Court of Appeals last week disbarred Michele L. Payer, a bankruptcy attorney, for numerous violations of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct. Among the more than 80 violations alleged in the Attorney Grievance Commission’s petition were failing to provide competent representation, commingling funds, and providing altered bank records to Bar Counsel during its investigation of complaints filed by two dissatisfied clients. 2. Court of Special Appeals asked to vacate opinion on Exxon Mobil damages -- by Danny Jacobs The Court of Special Appeals should vacate its decision striking down a significant portion of the $150 million in damages awarded to 88 Jacksonville households from Exxon Mobil Corp., according to a motion filed by the plaintiffs’ lawyers.