January 2015 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The year’s first big snowstorm for the state has also brought a modest flurry of certiorari grants from the Court of Appeals, including a couple matters of interest for mass-torts practitioners: the effect of component replacements on a manufacturer’s duty to warn, and qualification of expert witnesses in lead-exposure cases. So after you’re done digging out from the blizzard, dig in to these new additions to the high court’s docket, found after the jump.

Granted January 23, 2015

Allstate Lien and Recovery Corporation, et al. v. Cedric Stansbury – Case No. 7, September Term, 2015

Issue – Commercial Law – Did CSA misinterpret Commercial Law Article §§ 16-201 – 209 in their conclusion that a lien and recovery company hired to execute a garageman’s lien cannot include its lien enforcement costs and expenses for executing the lien as part of the amount necessary to redeem the vehicle?

Lisy Corp. v. McCormick & Co., Inc., et al. – Case No. 8, September Term, 2015

Issues – Civil Procedure – 1) Did this Court’s decision in Duckett v. Riley, 428 Md. 471 (2012), deprive Petitioner of its previously-valid jury demand, even though the Duckett ruling was expressly limited to a case involving a Civil Non-Domestic Case Information Report (“CIR”) that had never been served on the opposing party and this Court expressly left open the question of whether the outcome would be different if the plaintiff had served the CIR, as Petitioner has done here? 2) Did Petitioner properly demand its constitutional right to a jury trial when the law at the time of filing its complaint recognized the validity of Petitioner having demanded a jury trial by checking the appropriate box in the CIR? 3) Did Petitioner ever voluntarily and intentionally relinquish its known constitutional right to a jury trial?

Philip Royce May and Ruth Belche May v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., etc., et al. – Case No. 5, September Term, 2015

Issues – Torts – 1) Did CSA err by adopting a rule that any replacement of a component excuses the original manufacturer from any duty to warn without considering whether replacement of that component constituted a “substantial modification” of the condition of the product? 2) Did CSA err in upholding the trial court’s summary judgment ruling that Respondents did not owe a duty to the Petitioner to warn of exposure to asbestos dust created by maintenance of their pumps’ asbestos-containing parts because Petitioner could not establish that he was the first person to work on the pump after it was sold under the facts of this case where a) Respondents conceded they had a duty to warn the first worker who serviced the pump; b) the pumps were in an identical condition to their original sale when Petitioner worked on them; c) the pumps required asbestos-containing parts and the ordinary use of the pumps degraded these parts, mandating that they be replaced; d) warnings were possible and eventually given after Petitioner was no longer working with the pumps; and e) the risk was not only insurable but, in fact, insured? 3) Did CSA err in upholding the trial court’s summary judgment ruling that Respondents did not owe a duty to Petitioner when neither CSA nor the trial court performed a fact-specific duty analysis of the factors under Patton v. U.S. Rugby?

Prince George’s County Police Civilian Employees Association v. Prince George’s County, Maryland on behalf of the Prince George’s County Police Department – Case No. 1, September Term, 2015

Issues – Civil Procedure – 1) Did CSA err when it vacated the arbitrator’s award in this case under the theory that the decision was contrary to an explicit public policy and that the arbitrator’s interpretation of the employees’ Weingarten rights under the collective bargaining agreement was too expansive? 2) If CSA erred, did the arbitrator’s order of reinstatement and back pay as the remedy for the violation exceed his authority?

Jakeem Roy v. Sandra B. Dackman, et al. – Case No. 6, September Term, 2015

Issues – Torts – 1) Did the trial court err when it found that a board-certified pediatrician was not qualified as an expert to address the nature and extent of Petitioner’s injuries from childhood lead exposure? 2) Did CSA utilize the incorrect standard of review when it ignored the initial finding that the pediatrician was qualified to offer medical causation opinions and then reviewed his qualifications de novo?

Mario Sibug v. State of Maryland – Case No. 2, September Term, 2015

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Where a criminal defendant is found to be incompetent to stand trial, must a court find that the defendant has regained competence before he or she can be tried? 2) Did the trial court err when it found Petitioner to be competent at sentencing without ordering a new competency evaluation or otherwise taking new evidence on the question of Petitioner’s competency?

Tower Oaks Boulevard, LLC v. Brent W. Procida, et al., Substitute Trustees – Case No. 4, September Term, 2015

Issues – Corporations & Associations – 1) Does a third party have standing to challenge a limited liability company’s authority to prosecute or defend against litigation? 2) Where a limited liability company’s operating agreement vests power to act for the company in two persons acting jointly, and one cannot or will not act, is the other acting individually authorized to act for the company? 3) Is CSA’s holding that an operating agreement’s provision authorizing its manager to execute and sign all documents in each member’s name does not allow the manager to amend the operating agreement itself inconsistent with the Limited Liability Act’s policy to give the maximum effect to the principles of freedom of contract and to the enforceability of operating agreements?

Donald Richard Twigg v. State of Maryland – Case No. 3, September Term, 2015

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) When an appellate court holds that lesser included offenses should have been merged into the greater offense and it vacates the sentences that were merged for the lesser offenses, does the appellate court have the authority to vacate the sentence imposed for the greater offense and remand for re-sentencing for that offense where there has been no challenge on appeal to the legality of the conviction or sentence for the greater offense? 2) Did CSA have authority and/or discretion to remand this case to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing after holding that several of Petitioner’s sentences should merge? 3) Is Petitioner’s concern that, on remand, his sentence may be illegally increased not ripe for review and without merit?

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