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Law digest: 9/10/12

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS

Alternative Dispute Resolution, Grounds for vacating arbitration award: Appellate court erred when it vacated arbitration award on basis that award was “completely irrational” and demonstrated “manifest disregard of the law.” Downey v. Sharp, No. 19, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0823-21, 23 pages.

Criminal Law, Duress: As a matter of first impression, duress is a valid defense to felony murder in Maryland, and to establish and be entitled to the defense of duress, a defendant need not first prove that defendant attempted to stop or thwart the offense that defendant alleged that he or she was compelled to commit; therefore, defendant who showed “some evidence” for each element of the defense was entitled to jury instruction on duress. McMillan v. State, No. 132, Sept. Term, 2008. RecordFax No. 12-0824-23, 33 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Ineffective assistance of counsel: Criminal defendant was entitled to presumption of actual prejudice with regard to defendant’s Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of counsel claim where, during course of representation, defense counsel filed lawsuit against defendant seeking unpaid attorney’s fees, thereby creating personal conflict of interest; however, remand was necessary to determine whether presumed conflict of interest adversely affected counsel’s representation of defendant. Taylor v. State, No. 95, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0824-21, 31 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Right to discharge counsel: With regard to a defendant’s request to discharge counsel after the judge began to question the venire panel, “meaningful trial proceedings” began once the venire panel was summoned to courtroom for questioning; therefore, Rule 4-215(e), which applies to requests to discharge counsel before “meaningful trial proceedings” have begun, did not apply. Marshall v. State, No. 103, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0824-20, 30 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Warrantless collection of DNA: Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated when the State recovered his DNA from saliva that he left on a straw in the course of complying with an alcohol monitoring program mandated by the terms of his probation for a drunken driving offense. Corbin v. State, No. 48, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0822-20, 61 pages.

Family Law, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act: A Maryland court had authority under Uniform Child Custody Enforcement and Jurisdiction Act to relinquish jurisdiction to a Virginia court in the county in which the child’s mother lived; it was not abuse of discretion to relinquish jurisdiction on the basis of inconvenient forum, given that the mother intended to call multiple witnesses, including professional witnesses, who lived in Virginia and would incur unnecessary expenses if required to travel to Maryland. Miller v. Mathias, No. 146, Sept. Term, 2008. RecordFax No. 12-0827-20, 38 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Reciprocal discipline: An indefinite suspension, with the right to reapply after attorney is re-admitted unconditionally to the Bar of the District of Columbia, was the appropriate sanction where attorney’s financial misappropriation actions were negligent rather than intentional. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Tun, Misc. Docket AG No. 71, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0822-22, 16 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Suspension: A 60-day suspension was the appropriate sanction where attorney violated several Rules of Professional Conduct, including competence and diligence, and his violations were repeat offenses following an earlier 30-day suspension. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Walker-Turner, Misc. Docket AG No. 16, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0822-23, 23 pages.

Workers’ Compensation, Covered employee: Washington Redskins football player was “covered employee” for purposes of Maryland Labor and Employment Article because he was injured in Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Virginia while working for professional football league outside of Maryland on an “incidental or occasional basis,” and Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission therefore had jurisdiction to hear his workers’ compensation claim. Pro-Football, Inc. v. McCants, No. 116, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0823-20, 21 pages.

Workers’ Compensation, Jurisdiction: Forum selection clauses in an employment contract are ineffective to divest the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission of the ability to exercise jurisdiction. Pro-Football, Inc. v. Tupa, No. 29, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0822-21, 17 pages.

Workers’ Compensation, Tort immunity and indemnity: CJ §5-518 contains an indemnification provision, rather than an immunity provision, that allows an injured party to sue a county board of education employee who caused the injury, joining the board as a defendant; any damages awarded may be executed and levied against the county board only and not from the negligent employee. Board of Education of Prince George’s County v. Marks-Sloan, No. 117, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0821-21, 48 pages.