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Week in review: 9/13/12

Fetting out as Legg CEO

Mark R. Fetting will step down as chairman and CEO of Legg Mason Inc. on Oct. 1, a move that raises questions about the iconic Baltimore company’s direction. Fetting assumed the top job at Legg Mason in January 2008, and presided over nearly five years of client redemptions and a plummeting stock price. Some analysts, who declined to be named, suggested that influential board members pushed for Fetting’s resignation, given Legg’s failure to bounce back from the financial crisis that erupted as he took office.

Mechanic demolition delayed at least 6 months

A city panel voted unanimously to stall demolition of the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre until at least March 2013. The move by the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation took place after close to two hours of discussion about the fate of the Mechanic and the future of the prime location it sits on at Charles and Baltimore streets. The site has been purchased by David S. Brown Enterprises of Owings Mills, which wants to put a $150 million redevelopment with two apartment towers and nearly 100,000 square feet of retail space where the theater stands.

Court: State may take foster child’s SS benefits

The state can keep a foster child’s Social Security survivor’s benefits to pay for money it spent on his care, a Maryland appeals court held this week. The Court of Special Appeals overturned a decision by a juvenile court judge, which ordered the Baltimore City Department of Social Services to hold the benefits of about $32,000 in trust for the teen. The Court of Special Appeals found the state was allowed by law to take the money. It also ruled that the Juvenile Court did not have authority to declare a state regulation void and its order to create a trust is barred by sovereign immunity.

With his retirement, probe of judge ends

The Commission on Judicial Disabilities is dropping its investigation of Maryland District Court Judge Bruce S. Lamdin in light of his decision to step down from the Baltimore County bench next month. The commission’s chief investigator called Lamdin’s retirement an “appropriate” resolution to a recent complaint that he made derisive comments to a woman who was seeking a protective order against her husband.

Notice of lawsuit may halt foreclosure

Banks that loan money on property after a lawsuit has been filed may not be able to foreclose on it, the Court of Special Appeals has held. The appellate panel held 3-0 that a trial judge should have delayed or stopped the foreclosure of a loan because the borrower’s title was being disputed in a separate lawsuit when the loan was made, which had ended with a finding that the borrower held the property in trust for another party.

Federal court site in Salisbury spared

The U.S. magistrate judge’s chambers in Salisbury have survived the budgetary wrecking ball — at least, for now, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said this week. The chambers at the Maude R. Toulson Federal Building had been among 60 court sites in 29 states that the federal judiciary was considering for closure last winter. The sites did not have a resident judge, but rather served as temporary offices for courts based in larger cities whose judges traveled to the sites as needed. The Toulson building was not on the list of six closures announced Tuesday.

Medifast to pay $3.7M to settle FTC charges

Federal regulators said that a subsidiary of diet plan marketer Medifast Inc. will pay a $3.7 million civil penalty to settle charges that it violated a previous federal order by making unsupported claims about its weight-loss products. The Federal Trade Commission charged that claims made by Jason Pharmaceuticals Inc. in its ads for meal replacement products violated a 1992 FTC settlement order. Under federal law, companies that violate FTC orders may be liable for civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation per day, the FTC said.