Schneider Electric: The Surety’s Word Is Its Bond; Not So Its Incorporation of the Words of Its Principal

By Alan B. Sternstein

Language in a surety’s performance bond incorporating, without limitation, the provisions of its principal’s subcontract is not sufficient to bind the surety to the arbitration requirements of the subcontract, according to the Court of Special Appeals in Schneider Elec. Bldgs. Critical Systems, Inc. v. Western Surety Co., 231 Md. App. 27 (2016), cert. granted, 2017 Md. LEXIS 137 and 277 (Feb. 3 and Mar. 3, 2017) (“Schneider Electric”) (video of oral argument available here). Read More…

June 2017 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Court of Appeals granted certiorari in six cases yesterday. They’re a grab-bag of criminal law, civil procedure (judicial estoppel), administrative law, and takings law. The six grants, along with two earlier standalone grants we didn’t cover in prior posts, are after the jump. Read More…

Many thanks to Ocean City SCOTUS panel

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

This past weekend was my first time moderating the annual Supreme Court term-in-review panel in Ocean City, as part of the MSBA’s Annual Meeting. I had the pleasure of introducing Dahlia Lithwick of Slate, Jim Feldman of the University of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Law Clinic, and Catherine M.A. Carroll of WilmerHale. Read More…

14 Nominated for Court of Special Appeals: June 2017

By Brandon Moore

Governor Hogan will be picking from 14 candidates to fill the at-large seat on the Court of Special Appeals vacated by the recent retirement of Chief Judge Peter B. Krauser. The nominations were announced last week and were chosen from an impressive list of lawyers and judges who applied in April. Eight of the candidates were automatically advanced because they had been previously recommended for the Court by the Judicial Appellate Nominating Commission. Five of the nominees are sitting circuit court judges.

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Adnan Syed and How to Solve the Court of Special Appeals Public-Access Problem

By Michael Wein

The Maryland judiciary website posted last Wednesday about the Syed case guidelines for the public and news media interested in attending oral arguments. As noted in the detailed order by new Chief Judge Patrick Woodward, oral arguments are being held in Courtroom 1 on the second floor of the Courts of Appeal Building in Annapolis (the larger of the two courtrooms regularly used by the Court of Special Appeals). Courthouse security is taking significant protections against recording devices, and limited seating is being provided to the public and media.

This post is not about the Syed case, specifically. But the circumstances of the Syed oral arguments expose a lack of proper public access to any of the intermediate appellate court’s oral arguments, in noted contrast with the Court of Appeals.[1] Syed is quite obviously a highlighted, media-interest case, which poses an opportunity to discuss what procedures Maryland’s intermediate appellate court should consider, in at least the future, to accommodate public interest in specific, important oral arguments.

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Court of Appeals leaves unanswered how no-contest clauses reduced four decades of estates and trusts case law

By Michael Wein

Maryland estates and trusts law does not get its fair share of reported appellate decisions. The vast majority of estates and trusts cases are handled quickly and adroitly by the orphans’ court or, in some counties, the circuit court. Few cases are seriously litigated on appeal, and even fewer are decided by the Maryland appellate courts. A survey reveals that only 2 out of the 97 cert petitions granted by the Court of Appeals in the 2016 term fell under the category of “Estates and Trusts.”[1] In 2015, there were none.[2]

One of the two Court of Appeals cases from the 2016 term, Vito v. Grueff, was heard at oral argument on March 31, 2017. Vito highlights the lack of wills and estates case law in Maryland.

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The Final Judgment Rule: It ain’t over ’til it’s over

By Karen Federman Henry

Just when you think you know all of the rules for determining when a final judgment exists, they shift a bit.[*] The March 24 decision of the Court of Appeals in URS Corp. v. Fort Myer Construction Corporation interpreted the separate document requirement in Md. Rule 2-601 to allow a waiver of the requirement when doing so does not prejudice a party and preserves a party’s right to appeal. In some respects, the Court has returned us to some of the uncertainty that accompanied its decision in Houghton v. County Commissioners of Kent County, 305 Md. 407 (1986).

The elements of a final judgment sound simple—when all of the issues have been decided and the parties are effectively “out of court,” the time to appeal starts to run. Read More…

May 2017 Maryland Certiorari Grants

This month’s first batch of certiorari grants from the Court of Appeals of Maryland is here. The most interesting cases come from the criminal side, with questions regarding a “missing witness” instruction as to a defendant’s mother, and regarding the use of a “music video/slide show” as a victim impact evidence.

The Court may issue additional certiorari grants following its May 18 conference. The full list of five certiorari grants, with questions presented, appears after the jump. Read More…

Fourth Circuit Senior Judge Andre Davis to Become Baltimore City Solicitor

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

There is some bittersweet news out of Baltimore. Senior Judge Andre Davis, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, will be resigning his commission to become the new Baltimore City Solicitor, effective September 1, 2017. He has heard his last Fourth Circuit arguments and will be finishing work on opinions over the summer. Read More…

Governor Appoints Next Chief Judge of Court of Special Appeals

The Office of Governor Larry Hogan today issued the following press release:

Governor Larry Hogan today announced the appointment of Judge Patrick L. Woodward as Chief Judge to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. Judge Woodward has served as a judge on the Court since 2005. The appointment is effective May 6, 2017.

“I am confident that Judge Woodward is the most qualified individual to fill the chief judge vacancy on the Court of Special Appeals,” said Governor Hogan. “Judge Woodward has an exceptional and extensive judicial background, and has exhibited integrity and a strong commitment to justice. I offer him my sincere congratulations and best wishes.”

“I am truly honored by the trust and confidence that the Governor has placed in me,” said Judge Woodward. “I will do everything in my power to discharge my new duties faithfully, diligently, and competently.”

Judge Patrick L. Woodward is currently a judge for the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland where he has served since 2005, when he was appointed by Governor Robert Ehrlich. Prior to his appointment, Judge Woodward served as a judge for both the Circuit and District Courts of Montgomery County. Before serving as a judge, he was a sole practitioner and principal for Jackson & Campbell, P.C. Judge Woodward received his Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his J.D. from the Vanderbilt University School of Law.

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