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Week in review – 8/3/12

Caesars OK’d for casino

A state commission on Tuesday approved a slot machine license for Caesars Entertainment to build a casino in Baltimore. The unanimous vote for the Baltimore casino grants the fifth and final casino license allowed under state law. It came more than 3½ years after voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow slot machines in Maryland in a process that was slowed by a recession. The Video Lottery Facility Location Commission’s vote came a little more than a week before lawmakers are scheduled to come to Annapolis for a special session to decide whether to expand gambling to allow table games at the state’s casinos, as well as a new site in Prince George’s County.

State can keep gun process for now

An appellate court has stopped the clock from ticking on a federal judge’s order that gave Maryland two weeks to change the rules for obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday said the permit process can remain as it is while the state attorney general challenges the ruling that one of the existing requirements is unconstitutional. The three-judge panel also expedited oral arguments up to the court’s October session, which runs from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26.

Two bidders want City Center site

Two developers are seeking the rights to build a residential and retail complex on a prime half-acre site downtown once planned to hold an $80 million dual Hyatt-brand hotel project known as City Center. The Baltimore Development Corp. said unsolicited proposals had been received, just as the group opened general bidding for the site — a city-owned L-shaped parcel composed of 26-36 S. Calvert St., wrapping around to 117 Water St. and 110 E. Lombard St. — by issuing a request for proposals with an Aug. 31 deadline.

Miller to senators: Commute to session

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert and Prince George’s, is planning a quick start for next week’s special session to expand gambling and is urging senators to drive home in the evenings to save money if they don’t live too far away.

Family awarded $21M in injury

A Baltimore City Circuit Court jury awarded $21 million to a family whose son suffers from cerebral palsy due to complications during his birth. The jury awarded $18 million in future medical expenses, $2 million in future lost wages and $1 million in non-economic damages to Jaylan Norfleet and his parents, Shantiah and Joel Norfleet. After the cap on non-economic damages, the award will be about $20.6 million, according to the Norfleets’attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Bedigian & Arfaa LLC.

Judge dismisses lender suit

A federal judge in Baltimore won’t step into a dispute between the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation and an online payday lender claiming tribal sovereign immunity. Martin A. Webb, owner of Timber Lake, S.D.-based Payday Loans Financial LLC, had filed suit in U.S. District Court to stop the administrative action by the state regulators. Webb claimed he is immune from the state’s action because he is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and he operates Payday Loans Financial and other similar websites from the Cheyenne River Reservation. Judge William D. Quarles Jr. on Tuesday dismissed the lawsuit.

RG Steel auction delayed

The auction of RG Steel’s plants, including the historic Sparrows Point steel mill in Baltimore County, has been postponed until next week, union officials wrote in an email to membership Tuesday, according to a local news blog. The Baltimore Brew reported that Joe Rosel, president on Local 9477 of the United Steelworkers Union, sent a memorandum to his members that said the auction of the mill was delayed by bankrupt owner RG Steel for a week in order to find a “stalking horse” bidder for the property.

Roberts: Supreme Court likely would reverse DNA ruling

U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. strongly indicated Monday that the Supreme Court wants to review a Maryland high court decision generally barring police from collecting DNA samples from people arrested for committing or attempting to commit a violent crime. In a four-page opinion, Roberts said there is a “reasonable probability” that the Supreme Court would hear the case and a “fair prospect” that it would overturn the Maryland Court of Appeals’ decision that the DNA collections on arrest is constitutional only when absolutely necessary to identify the suspect.

6 more in running for CSA post

The Appellate Judicial Nominating Commission on Monday announced six new applicants to succeed retired Judge James R. Eyler on the Court of Special Appeals. They are Cathleen C. Brockmeyer, an assistant Maryland attorney general in the criminal appeals division; James K. MacAlister, of Saiontz & Kirk P.A. in Baltimore; Brian J. Murphy, a Baltimore solo practitioner; Denise O. Shaffer, executive administrative law judge and deputy director of quality assurance at the Office of Administrative Hearings; Kimberly Smith Ward, a commissioner on the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission; and Martin E. Wolf, a partner at Gordon & Wolf Chtd. in Towson.