Archive | April 2014

Amalgamated Transit v. Loveless – Judicial Imposition of Procedural and Remedial Due Process in Private Relationships

By Alan Sternstein

In a host of private, essentially, contractual arrangements that nevertheless affect important or broad public interests, parties provide for procedures and remedies for the resolution of disputes between them. Examples include hospital credentialing of doctors or grants of hospital privileges, labor relations in industries ranging from the entertainment arts, to sports, to the skilled trades, and trade and professional competency certifications by trade and professional associations. In most cases, the source of the public interest is ultimately one of economics. Association credentialing and certification, for example, apart from often being critical to one’s ability to engage in a business or profession and, thereby, earn a living, also can substantially affect competition—where, for example, credentialing or certification programs are operated as barriers to entry.   Another important interest is the country’s unquenchable thirst for live sports. As a consequence, player rights and labor disputes, franchise ownership and franchise location issues, particularly where these issues affect the availability or quality of sporting events, garner considerable public attention. Read More…

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Maryland Certiorari Grants, April 2014

The Court of Appeals website shows the following April 18, 2014 grants of certiorari:

Marcus Lee Smiley v. State of Maryland – Case No. 37, September Term, 2014

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did the trial court err in admitting the prior recorded statement of an unavailable witness after finding that Petitioner procured the witness’s unavailability at trial? 2) Did the lower court err in failing to suppress an extrajudicial identification of Petitioner where his photograph was one of only two in a photographic array which was not visibly altered and his clothing matched the shooter’s described attire? 3) Should MD adopt, either as a matter of State constitutional or evidentiary law, a standard for evaluating the admissibility of eyewitness identifications which better reflects present scientific knowledge concerning eyewitness memory?

State of Maryland v. Gregory Graves – Case No. 36, September Term, 2014

Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) As a matter of first impression, did CSA err in determining that § 8-401 of the Criminal Procedure Article, which was enacted while Respondent’s appeal was pending, applies retroactively to Respondent’s case? 2) If § 8-401 applies retroactively, is the appropriate remedy a remand and not a reversal?

New 2014 Appeal Rules that You May Not Find in Your Hardcopy Rules Book

By Michael Wein

I’m sure there are some Maryland attorneys who, like me, look forward to receiving a hardcopy of the two-volume Maryland Rules from Lexis annually around Christmas. The hardcopy is supposed to catalogue the most updated Rules. Unfortunately, it appears that the new Rules from the late November 2013 Court of Appeals meeting, which took effect on January 1, 2014, were omitted. Therefore as a courtesy, I am reiterating that readers, before filing their certiorari, merits, or amici briefs, should review the actual Rules that took effect on January 1. Read More…

Fourth Circuit Certifies Question to Maryland Court of Appeals

Today, in Antonio v. SSA Sec. Inc., — F.3d — (4th Cir. 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit certified the following question to the Court of Appeals of Maryland:

Does the Maryland Security Guards Act, Md. Code Ann., Bus. Occ. & Prof. § 19-501, impose liability beyond common law principles of respondeat superior such that an employer may be responsible for off-duty criminal acts of an employee if the employee planned any part of the off-duty criminal acts while he or she was on duty?

The factual and legal background appears in the Fourth Circuit’s decision, available here. The Court of Appeals presumably will calendar the case for argument during the September 2014 Term.

Maryland General Assembly Abrogates Court of Appeals Decision Imposing Strict Liability on Pit Bull Owners and Their Landlords

Yesterday, Governor O’Malley signed SB247, officially abrogating the 4-to-3 decision in Tracey v. Solesky, 427 Md. 627 (2012), which imposed strict tort liability on pit bull owners, and on their landlords, for injuries caused by pit bulls. Read More…

Solicitor General Urges SCOTUS to Reverse Court of Appeals in Comptroller v. Wynne

We previously reported in January that the Supreme Court of the United States requested the views of the Solicitor General of the United States as to whether to grant certiorari in Maryland State Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne, 431 Md. 147 (2013). As reported today by Steve Lash at The Daily Record, the Solicitor General has filed a brief in support of the State’s petition.

The Solicitor General’s brief is available here. Below is the Solicitor General’s argument summary, from pages 6 and 7 of that brief: Read More…

The Most Important Part of an Appellant’s Fourth Circuit Brief (Is Not What You Think It Is)

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Inconspicuously placed at the conclusion of Fourth Circuit Local Rule 34(a) is a provision that “parties may include in their briefs at the conclusion of the argument a statement setting forth the reasons why, in their opinion, oral argument should be heard.” Forget the word “may.” The Local Rule 34(a) statement is, I submit, the most important part of an appellant’s brief. Read More…

The Law of Game of Thrones

[Editor-in-Chief’s Disclaimer: This post doesn’t have much to do with Maryland law or appellate law. But with the large number of lawyers who watch it, we’ll make an exception for “Game of Thrones.”]

By Michael Wein

The season four premiere of “Game of Thrones” begins this Sunday, April 6, 2014 (with a free HBO weekend on most cable providers). The past three seasons have displayed why Game of Thrones is one of the best dramas on television today, being filmed worldwide in exotic locales, with increased ratings each year in the United States and abroad. Yet, one has to express fascination at the series’ regular barbaric atrocities and complete lawlessness, with self-proclaimed kings or their servants selfishly, arbitrarily, and summarily executing and maiming people. While you can praise its acting, writing, catchy theme music, or the theatrical presentation, Game of Thrones on first glance does not appear to have much ‘Law’ going on. Then again, perhaps along with its well-written plotting and acting, based on the George R.R. Martin series of books, it’s a morbid fascination of what life was like in the Middle Ages that people find entertaining. Read More…