Once again, it’s time for your friendly neighborhood certiorari grants. Sadly for this blog’s traffic, the Court of Appeals hasn’t heeded our bypass suggestions in Syed v. State.
(Yet.) (Update: Probably because of this odd opinion.)
The grants, with questions presented, appear after the jump. Read More…
[Update: A reader, David Lease, pointed out to me the 4-3 decision in Stachowski v State, 416 Md. 276(2010), which appears to negate the possibility of bypass. Thanks to David and boo to Stachowski .]
Caught between a rock and a hard place: Court of Special Appeals lacks jurisdiction of county hearing officer’s decision
In Ross Contracting, Inc. v. Frederick County, No. 977, Sept. Term 2103 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Feb. 2, 2015), a contractor, whose efforts to replace a bridge were impeded by the unexpected discovery of hard rock, was further frustrated when it learned that it had landed in a hard place – an appellate court that lacked jurisdiction over the contractor’s dispute with Frederick County. The case serves as a reminder “‘that appellate jurisdiction, except as constitutionally authorized, is determined entirely by statute, and that, therefore, a right of appeal must be legislatively granted.’” Slip Op. at 10 (quoting Prince George’s Cnty. v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp., 358 Md. 166, 173 (2000), quoting Gisriel v. Ocean City Bd. of Supervisors of Elections, 345 Md. 477, 485 (1997)) (other citation omitted).
A big case out of the Court of Appeals earlier this year didn’t get any play here on the Blog, but generated a bit of fallout discussion elsewhere in the online Maryland legal community last month, including write-ups by Ann Marie Mehlert of Lerch, Early & Brewer and Catherine A.B. Simanski of Rollins, Smalkin, Richards & Mackie. Described by Catherine in her post as arising from “a feud of ‘Hatfields and McCoys’ proportions over parking spots situated between a condo association and a homeowner’s association,” Falls Garden Condominium Ass’n, Inc. v. Falls Homeowners Ass’n, Inc., Md. Ct. App., No. 30, Sept. Term 2014 (Jan. 27, 2015), grabbed some attention by holding that a letter of intent (that’s an “LOI” among acronym-savvy attorneys) for a settlement agreement was still binding on the parties even though they couldn’t eventually agree on the terms of a lease that was meant to satisfy the proposed settlement. In analyzing the outcome, Ann Marie offered that most real-estate professionals “have always viewed the LOI as an efficient means to get business terms out on the table and agreed to before negotiating a lease” and “usually understand that the LOI is non-binding.”
“Law of the case” is a doctrine that tends to be loosely thrown around by attorneys who vaguely feel that some fact or principle should be treated as established for the remainder of their litigation, but don’t quite know why. For appellate practitioners — especially those who get involved in particularly contentious and protracted lawsuits — it’s good to get an occasional refresher on how the principle actually works. The Court of Special Appeals recently provided just such a primer in Baltimore County, Maryland v. Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 4, Sept. Term 2013, No. 1904/Sept. Term 2014, No. 99 (Dec. 17, 2014), a case that should cause all lawyers readying an appeal to think a little deeper about what issues they need to raise and what relief they want to seek.
Why Government Lawyers Must Do Better: The Fourth Circuit Blasts the EEOC for “Disappointing Litigation Conduct”
Government lawyers enjoy the tremendous goodwill that flows from the common perception that, because they represent the public rather than self-interested private parties, they are more honest and forthcoming in giving courts not just the truth but the whole truth. Although all attorneys have a duty of candor to the court and a duty to zealously represent their clients, every lawyer strives to be seen as more credible than opposing counsel. When the client in a criminal or civil case is the United States of America, the attorney has already taken the high ground because the public and the judiciary often expect greater candor from government attorneys, even when it could potentially harm their case.
What will warm you up on this coldest of winter days? Certiorari grants? No, probably not. But since you’re hopefully not venturing into the cold tonight, you’ll have extra time to read through today’s grants of review by Maryland’s highest court. (And no, the grants do not include an own-motion grant of certiorari in Syed v. State, as we recently wildly speculated.) Read More…
The Importance of the New Maryland Daily Record Database of Unreported Court of Special Appeals Opinions
By Michael Wein
Last week, Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera delivered the State of the Judiciary address to the Maryland General Assembly, concluding, “The Judiciary is doing well and it is making strides in becoming smarter, more efficient and increasingly accessible to the public. The future presents challenges and opportunities alike, and the time is ripe for reasoned and thoughtful reforms.” (Both the written transcript and webcast links are available on the Judiciary website.) Along those lines, recent changes involving the statewide introduction of electronic filing are taking hold, and may help make Maryland’s intermediate appellate court, the Court of Special Appeals, more accessible and transparent. This corresponds with the recent launch by the Maryland Daily Record, as a benefit for its subscribers, of an online searchable catalog of the Court of Special Appeals’ unreported opinions from Jan. 1, 2014, on.
[Update: A reader, David Lease, pointed out to me the 4-3 decision in Stachowski v State, 416 Md. 276(2010), which appears to negate the possibility of bypass. Thanks to David and boo to Stachowski.]
Fans of the Serial podcast received some good news and some bad news this weekend. The good news: the Court of Special Appeals granted Adnan Syed’s application for leave to appeal. His ineffective assistance of counsel claim will be heard on the merits during the court’s June 2015 sitting. But there was bad news for those who had trouble waiting between Serial installments: final resolution is going to take a while. As Sarah Koenig explained on her blog: Read More…
From the Maryland Appellate Blog’s inbox:
THE LITIGATION SECTION OF THE MARYLAND STATE BAR ASS’N AND ITS APPELLATE PRACTICE COMMITTEE
Recent Impact Decisions of the Maryland Appellate Courts
Thursday, March 19, 2015
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Please register on-line at http://www.msba.org/RecentImpactDecisionsMarch2015.aspx