Archive | June 2014

CTS and the Value of Certification Statutes

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Yesterday’s excellent guest post by Derek Stikeleather managed to set a new record for daily traffic on the Maryland Appellate Blog. Many thanks to Derek (and to Howard Bashman for picking up the post at How Appealing). I’d like to briefly add a small point on CTS Corp. v. Waldburger.

I’ve seen news reports of efforts in the North Carolina Legislature to pass a bill, applying to all pending litigation, declaring that the state’s statute of repose was never intended to apply to tort cases involving contaminated groundwater. [Update: Beth Scherer at the North Carolina Appellate Practice Blog reports that both houses unanimously approved the legislation.] A Marylander might ask why the Fourth Circuit does not simply certify that question to the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Read More…

June 2014 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Court of Appeals website is listing four June 18, 2014 certiorari grants. The cases, listed after the jump, include authentication of Facebook posts at trial. Read More…

An Open Letter to Law Professors: Use This Case To Show Why Statutory Interpretation Is Not as Easy as It Sounds

By Derek Stikeleather[*]

The simplest rules and standards can often be the most confounding; just ask anyone who has had to divine whether an act was “willful.” The decisions of the Fourth Circuit and Supreme Court in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger offer a vivid case study of how the supposedly simple rules of statutory interpretation, which apply a statute’s “plain language” and “clear intent,” are anything but simple in practice. Both courts analyzed whether CERCLA’s express pre-emption of state-law statutes of limitations also pre-empts state-law statutes of repose. Last summer, a split panel of Fourth Circuit judges reversed a district court judge and held that CERCLA did pre-empt North Carolina’s statute of repose. But a divided Supreme Court, reversing again, held last week that it did not. Read More…

FBA Event: Highlights Of The Supreme Court’s 2013-14 Term

This invitation just arrived in our inbox.

Highlights Of The Supreme Court’s 2013-14 Term
July 17th at 6:00 pm

United States Courthouse, Courtroom 1A
101 W. Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

 Campaign contributions-government prayer-recess appointments-search and seizure-death penalty-restitution for crime victims-and more to come!

Please come to a free panel discussion about the most significant cases from this Supreme Court term, with a reception to follow.  Panelists will include:

  •  The Honorable Joseph F. Murphy, Jr. retired from the Court of Appeals of Maryland in October 2011 to join Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White. His practice focuses on alternative dispute resolution including mediation and arbitration, as well as appellate and litigation consultation services. Prior to his elevation to the Court of Appeals, Judge Murphy was Chief Judge of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, the state’s intermediate appellate court. Judge Murphy has authored hundreds of published appellate opinions. He also served as a trial judge on the Circuit Court for Baltimore County from 1984-1993. Judge Murphy has served as a former Deputy State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, as an Assistant State’s Attorney, and as a Legal Aid Bureau Staff Attorney.
  • Sujit Raman, Appellate Chief in the Maryland US Attorney’s Office, has litigated numerous cases in the US Court of Appeals. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School. Mr. Raman is appearing in his personal capacity; his statements are not the official position of the Department of Justice, and his position is provided for identification purposes only.
  • Jonathan Biran has briefed and argued cases in federal appellate courts including the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. A federal prosecutor for more than 16 years, he served as Appellate Chief in the Maryland US Attorney’s Office before starting the law firm of Biran Kelly LLC, with offices in Baltimore and Washington.

This event is sponsored by the Md Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Please direct any questions to Mike Leotta at

Lively Discussion at MSBA Supreme Court Roundup Panel

By Jonathan Biran

Yesterday at the MSBA Annual Meeting in Ocean City, the Appellate Practice Committee and Litigation Section put on a very good program about the U.S. Supreme Court’s soon-to-be concluded term. The panel was comprised of John Elwood, an appellate lawyer in the Washington, D.C. office of Vinson & Elkins; Jesse Holland, an Associated Press reporter who has covered the Supreme Court; and Prof. Louis Seidman, who teaches Constitutional Law at Georgetown Law Center. The moderator was Andrew Baida of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP in Baltimore.

Among the cases the panel discussed were:

Schuette v. BAMN: In this 6-2 decision (with Justice Kagan recusing), the Court upheld Michigan voters’ amendment to the state Constitution prohibiting state and governmental entities in Michigan from including race-based preferences as part of the admissions process at state universities. Read More…

Event: SCOTUS Panel at MSBA Annual Meeting

This week’s MSBA Annual Meeting will, as usual, feature a “United States Supreme Court Year in Review” Panel, sponsored by the Appellate Practice Committee and Litigation Section. The panel will take place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday, June 12, at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City, Maryland.

The program chairs are Hon. Robert A. Zarnoch and Andy Baida.  This year’s panelists are Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press, Professor Louis Michael Seidman of Georgetown University Law Center, and John Elwood of Vinson & Elkins LLP (and known in blogging circles for authoring the Relist Watch at SCOTUSblog). We hope to see you there!