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Law digest – 12/24/14

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS 

Evidence, Expert testimony: Trial court erred by allowing a police officer, who was not qualified as an expert under Maryland Rule 5-702, to testify as to the location of the cell phone towers through which the defendants’ cell phone calls were routed as determined by his analysis of the defendants’ cell phone records, because such testimony requires that the witness be qualified as an expert. State v. Joseph William Payne & Jason Bond, No. 85, Sept. Term 2013. RecordFax No. 14-1211-20, 50 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Denial of application for admission: Where applicant for admission to the Bar of Maryland showed a history of financial irresponsibility and lack of candor, applicant failed to demonstrate that possesses good moral character and fitness for membership in the Bar. Matter of T.Z.-A.O. for Admission to the Bar of Maryland, Misc. No. 3, Sept. Term 2013. RecordFax No. 14-1222-20, 17 pages.

MARYLAND COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS 

Contracts, Parol evidence: In a case involving a dispute over a landlord’s contractual right to terminate a long-term commercial lease and to require the tenants to renegotiate the terms, the circuit court correctly found that a lease termination provision was unambiguous, and the court thus properly declined to consider the tenants’ extrinsic evidence of the parties’ alleged intentions. Huggins v. Huggins & Harrison, Inc., No. 1702, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-1202-00, 21 pages.

Real Property, Easements: “Owner’s dedication” in a plat of the county land records, which provided that the plat was covenanted to be and remain a permanent green space buffer into perpetuity, constituted an easement, and the dedication therefore survived all past and future tax sales, remained binding on the assignee and his heirs, successors and assignees, and required the parcel to be maintained as a permanent green space. Flores v. Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, No. 01239, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-1202-03, 17 pages.

Real Property, Easements: County planning board did not err by finding that a forest conservation easement encumbered a land lot and that the lot owner had actual and constructive notice of that easement, because the contract of sale of the lot contained clear references to the easement. McClure v. Montgomery County Planning Board of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, No. 1031, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-1202-04, 23 pages.