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Law digest – 6/13/13

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS

Family Law, Children in need of assistance: In selecting a permanency plan for a child in need of assistance, a juvenile court may consider information relating to the entire period of the child’s placement even when an appellate decision has reversed an earlier order that was the basis for a portion of the time spent in that placement. In re Ashley S. & Caitlyn S., No. 4, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 13-0530-20, 56 pages.

MARYLAND COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Civil Procedure, Judicial review: Petition for judicial review was properly dismissed as untimely, where the mailbox rule did not afford petitioner three days beyond the thirty-day period imposed by Rule 7-203(a) to file his petition. Bush v. Public Service Commission of Maryland, No. 0032, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 13-0529-04, 16 pages.

Criminal Law, Conspiracy: Where circuit court failed to instruct jury that jury could not find defendant guilty of more than one count of conspiracy unless it was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant entered into two separate agreements to violate the law, it was necessary to vacate one of defendant’s two conspiracy convictions in order to avoid violation of double jeopardy principles, because without such instruction, jury might have believed that one agreement could support more than one conspiracy count. Savage v. State, No. 1741, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 13-0529-00, 44 pages.

Estates & Trusts, Constructive trust: Where decedent’s surviving spouse had been named beneficiary of record of decedent’s pension through his employ with public school system and was receiving pension benefits, circuit court did not err in ordering equitable remedy in form of constructive trust in favor of decedent’s ex-wife, because decedent and ex-wife had entered into separation agreement providing that judgment of divorce would serve as a qualified domestic relations order in husband’s pension benefits and, even though decedent had remarried and designated his surviving spouse as sole beneficiary of his pension, separation agreement reflected parties’ mutual intent that ex-wife was to be alternate payee of decedent’s pension plan and was to receive a 50% interest in marital share of pension. Robinette v. Hunsecker, No. 2444, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 13-0529-02, 57 pages.

Evidence, Relevance of medical payments: Defendant’s proffered evidence of payments made on plaintiff’s medical bills by his worker’s compensation carrier that were accepted as full payment by his health care providers were properly excluded as irrelevant. Brethren Mutual Insurance Co. v. Suchoza, No. 1787, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 13-0529-03, 36 pages.

Labor & Employment, Police Labor Relations Act: The Montgomery County Council did not violate the Police Labor Relations Act when it passed an operating budget that rejected a proposed amendment to the police union’s collective bargaining agreement and did not fund three categories of employee benefits. Fraternal Order of Police, Montgomery County Lodge 35 v. Montgomery County, Maryland, No. 107, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 13-0530-02, 8 pages.

Premises Liability, Lead paint: While a plaintiff in a lead paint case may rely solely on circumstantial evidence, circuit court properly granted defendants summary judgment in plaintiff’s lawsuit against defendants alleging injury from ingestion of lead paint at residence owned by defendants where plaintiff presented no direct evidence that residence in question ever contained lead paint and evidence showed that plaintiff resided at several different addresses during relevant time period, because based on circumstantial evidence presented, plaintiff could not show by process of elimination that residence in question was the only possible cause for his lead poisoning. West v. Rochkind, No. 0041, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 13-0530-03, 15 pages.

Real Property, Homeowners’ association: The business judgment rule precluded judicial review of homeowners’ association’s legitimate business decision to deny homeowner’s request to install a new roof on home using materials not authorized by the bylaws of the association.

Reiner v. Ehrlich, No. 33, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 13-0529-01, 25 pages.

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS 

Civil Procedure, Standing: By electing to conduct their restaurant business through a limited liability company and thereby receive protection of their personal assets from liability, restaurant principals gave up their standing to claim damages to the LLC, even if they also suffered personal damages as a result. Painter’s Mille Grille, LLC v. Brown, No. 12-1357. RecordFax No. 13-0524-62, 20 pages.

Civil Procedure, Stay: Because plaintiffs had every opportunity to procure a federal forum by removing defendants’ first-filed state suit rather than by bringing a separate federal action in a separate federal district, federal district court did not err in granting defendants’ motion to stay plaintiffs’ suit pending resolution of defendants’ earlier-filed state suit. VRCompliance v. Homeaway, Inc., No. 12-1143. RecordFax No. 13-0524-63, 10 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Habeas corpus: Although Commonwealth of Virginia failed to comply with district court order calling for immediate unconditional release of successful habeas corpus petitioner or petitioner’s retrial within 120 days, district court abused its discretion in barring re-prosecution of petitioner, because constitutional claims for which petitioner was awarded habeas corpus relief were readily capable of being remedied in a new trial. Wolfe v. Clarke, No. 12-7. RecordFax No. 13-0528-60, 41 pages.

Family Law, Custody: Where mother had sole custody of her Swiss-born son and had a legitimate reason for traveling with him from Switzerland to United States, and where Swiss law gave her unilateral right to remove the child while he was in her sole custody, mother did not abuse her rights under Swiss law or breach any parental authority rights that father held at the time of removal. White v. White, No. 12-1835. RecordFax No. 13-0524-64, 13 pages.