Law digest – 3/13/14


Administrative Law, Exhaustion of remedies: When final administrative orders of County Board of Appeals limited the paving of, and structures placed on, park land leased to a private entity for use as a restaurant, neighbors and local community association were not required to initiate a new administrative process as a prerequisite to bringing a declaratory judgment action in court to enforce those restrictions. Falls Road Community Association, Inc. v. Baltimore County, Maryland, No. 39, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0225-20, 43 pages.

Civil Procedure, Jury instructions: It was not reversible error for trial court to fail to instruct jury as to why plaintiff’s underinsured motorist carrier was a defendant at the trial or what underinsured motorist coverage is in a tort suit where the question of insurance coverage was not before the jury. Keller v. Serio and GEICO Ins. Co., No. 48 Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0124-20, 16 pages.

Consumer protection, Statute of limitations: A claim by a consumer borrower against a lender or its assignee for violation of the Credit Grantor Closed End Credit Law in collection efforts may be for up to six months after the loan has been satisfied; therefore, circuit court erred in finding borrower’s suit against the lender was time-barred because the borrower’s loan was not yet satisfied when she filed the suit. Patton v. Wells Fargo Financial Maryland, Inc., No. 3, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0224-21, 36 pages.

Contracts, Choice of law: In parties’ insurance contract, circuit court correctly awarded summary judgment on issue of choice of law because there was no genuine dispute of material fact that insurance contracts at issue were made in Pennsylvania, as opposed to New York, as urged by the insurers, and Pennsylvania law governed interpretation of policies. TIG Ins. Co. v. Monongahela Power Co., No. 31, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0224-22, 5 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Right to discharge counsel: Defense counsel’s vague statement to the trial court that defendant may wish to hire another attorney was sufficient to trigger the requirement under Rule 4-215 for a colloquy to determine the nature and reason for defendant’s request. Gambrill v. State, No. 42, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0227-21, 22 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was the appropriate sanction for repetitive and dishonest conduct that included unauthorized withdrawals from client’s escrow account, routine commingling of attorney and clients’ funds, and misrepresentation of his accounts and actions to the courts, despite the fact that this Bar Counsel’s first complaint against the attorney. Attorney Grievance Commission v. Berry, Misc. Docket AG No. 62, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0226-21, 43 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Where attorney disseminated written allegations defaming certain judges and other public officials, disbarment was the appropriate sanction because such allegations, which attorney knew were false, were not protected by the First Amendment and reflected poorly on attorney’s fitness to practice law. Attorney Grievance Commission v. Frost, Misc. Docket AG No. 69, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0226-22, 37 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was the appropriate sanction when an attorney engaged in a pattern of misconduct, including failure to perform agreed-upon legal work and abandonment of clients without notice and without returning unearned fees, because such actions demonstrated lack of competence and diligence, involved a failure to communicate with clients and to properly terminate the attorney-client relationship, and were prejudicial to the administration of justice. Attorney Grievance Commission v. Pinno, Misc. Docket AG Nos. 30 & 40, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 14-0224-20, 15 pages.


Family Law, Waiver of reunification services: Pursuant to the plain language and legislative history of CJP §3-812(d), when a local Department of Social Services requests the court to waive its obligation to continue reunification efforts between a parent and a Child in Need of Assistance, and the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the parent involuntarily lost parental rights to the child’s sibling, the court is required to grant the request. In re Joy D., No. 693, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0129-03, 26 pages.

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