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Law digest – 1/14/15

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS 

Professional Responsibility, Indefinite suspension: Court of Appeals suspended indefinitely an attorney who violated Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct by failing to communicate the scope of his representation and the amount of time billed to a client, failing to deposit an unearned retainer in a client trust account or escrow, and not responding to the lawful requests of bar counsel for information and a response to the complaints filed against him. Attorney Grievance Commission v. Green, Misc. Docket AG Nos. 32 & 46, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-1222-20, 25 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Indefinite suspension: Attorney who abandoned a client, failed to communicate with his clients, made misrepresentations to a client and to Bar Counsel, and failed to cooperate with Bar Counsel’s investigation was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law. Attorney Grievance Commission v. Brigerman, Misc. Docket AG No. 16, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-1218-20, 23 pages.

 

MARYLAND COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS 

Criminal Procedure, Joinder: In defendant’s criminal trial for multiple offenses including participation in a criminal gang, trial court did not err in denying defendant’s motion to sever his charge of participation in a criminal gang from his remaining charges because the judicial economy considerations of joining the charges outweighed the minimal likelihood of prejudice. Cortez v. State, No. 1952, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-1218-04, 11 pages.

 

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Consumer protection, Preemption: District court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s state-based tort and fraud claims against manufacturers of bottled water, infant formula, and baby food consumed by plaintiff’s minor daughter was proper because federal law, which provides uniform labeling standards for bottled water, preempted plaintiff’s state-based bottled water claims, and, as to plaintiff’s infant formula and baby food claims, plaintiff’s complaint failed to satisfy federal pleading requirements regarding “further factual enhancement.” Nemphos v. Nestle Waters North America, Inc.; Nestle USA, Inc.; The Dannon Company, Inc.; Gerber Products Company, No. 13-2146. RecordFax No. 15-0108-60, 30 pages.

Labor & Employment, Wrongful discharge: Plaintiff sufficiently stated a claim for wrongful discharge where he alleged he was fired for refusing to participate in illegal pharmacy distribution activities contravening the public policy interest of the state; the relevant statutes, while not a part of the criminal code, make it unlawful to practice pharmacy or engage in wholesale distribution of prescription drugs without a license, and carry criminal penalties. Weidman v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, No. 13-2007. RecordFax No. 15-0108-61, 18 pages.

Torts, False Claims Act: Government’s complaint, which alleged that a defense contractor failed to satisfy the contractual requirement that guards hired under the contract meet a marksmanship requirement and that the contractor falsified records to obscure its failure, sufficiently stated a claim under the False Claims Act. United States of America and United States ex rel. Omar Badr v. Triple Canopy, Inc., No. 13-2190; United States ex rel. Omar Badr v. Triple Canopy, Inc., No. 13-2190. RecordFax No. 14-1508-62, 25 pages.