March/April 2015 Link Round-Up
Blog editor Michael Wein has been all over the new and proposed Maryland Rules regarding unpublished opinions. As noted by Daily Record blogger N. Tucker Meneely, unpublished Court of Special Appeals are already being officially posted online, but the prospects that Maryland courts will actually let you rely on them as trustworthy statements of law is pretty low. Earlier in the month, Tucker also expressed his appreciation for Judge Harrell’s use of “humorous quips and pop culture references” in his opinions. Other links of note from March and April appear after the jump.
- A Daily Record piece by Danny Jacobs reports that the Court of Special Appeals, in Parkway Swirnow, Inc. v. Board of Liquor License Commissioners in Baltimore City, has torpedoed another potential party barge in the Baltimore harbor, finding that the City’s Liquor Board was entitled to reasonably look outside the formal record to make adverse findings about the plan.
- Earlier this year, we noted the online discussion bubbling around the Maryland Court of Appeals’ treatment of a letter of intent in Falls Garden Condominium Assoc., Inc. v. Falls Homeowners Assoc., Inc. Joining the fray since then is Patricia Weaver of Paley Rothman, who says the case will cause signers of interim negotiating documents to “proceed with caution” to avoid being prematurely bound.
- Patricia’s fellow principal Ron Dweck and their associate Allison Lee put some ink (or pixels, rather) to the Supreme Court’s decision in Direct Marketing Assoc. v. Brohl, finding the actual holding about the Tax Injunction Act not nearly as interesting as Justice Kennedy’s concurrence, which called upon the Court to finally allow states to directly tax sales by online retailers.
- Before Blog editor Alan Sternstein wrote an extensive analysis last month of the Maryland Court of Appeals’ somewhat controversial decision in Espina v. Jackson, Sima Fried of Silverman|Thompson|Slutkin|White (disclosure: that’s where I work, too) provided a quick overview of the holding.
- The Supreme Court’s putting some meat on the bones of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in Young v. United Parcel Service generated a fair bit of comment. Another Paley Rothman associate, Jessica Summers, read the opinion as establishing a “middle-ground standard” for claims under the Act, while Alexander Berg of Kollman & Saucier understood the case as continuing to permit employer “policy distinctions, even if they affect pregnant employees, as long as they can be justified by legitimate business reasons above practical and/or economic convenience … without imposing a significant burden on pregnant employees that is not imposed on non-pregnant employees.” Michael J. Neary of Lerch Early & Brewer makes the point, however, that the significance of Young is “diminished somewhat” because amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act and changes in state laws enacted after the facts in the case occurred had “already shifted the landscape regarding employer obligations to accommodate pregnant employees in many respects.”
- Jessica also summarized the Supreme Court’s decision in Mach Mining v. EEOC that courts can question whether the EEOC satisfied the Title VII conciliation requirement before filing suit, an outcome Garrett Wozniak of Kollman & Saucier called “limited” relief for employers.
- Other K&S case reviews of note: Bernadette Hunton recapped the “victory” for employers in McCleary-Evans v. Md. Dep’t of Transp. after the Fourth Circuit clarified that the Iqbal/Twombly pleading standards applied to employment discrimination claims; she also noted, however, the decidedly less employer-friendly decision of that court in Jacobs v. N.C. Admin. Office of the Courts, which held that employees who can’t interact with customers because of a social-anxiety disorder are still entitled to reasonable accommodations if possible. Meanwhile, Randi Klein Hyatt observed that, under the Supreme Court’s ruling in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Ass’n, federal agencies aren’t made to follow the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements when changing interpretive rules. Lastly, Kevin Cox delved into the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in Green v. Donahoe, which will resolve some things about when the statute of limitations begins to run for federal employment-discrimination claims.
- Matthew G. DiMeglio, also at Lerch Early & Brewer, outlined the Fourth Circuit’s decision in In re Restivo Auto Body, Inc. v. Susquehanna Bank that Maryland’s doctrine of equitable conversion gave a bank’s deed priority in bankruptcy proceedings against a federal tax lien — even though notice of the lien had been filed before the deed was even recorded.
- As noted by Lauren A. Seldomridge of Rollins, Smalkin, Richards & Mackie, it’s not too surprising that animal-rights groups are applauding the Court of Special Appeals’ holding in Brooks v. Jenkins that a statutory damages cap for injuries to pets doesn’t apply to owners’ related claims for emotional distress. More interesting is who is opposed: veterinarians.
- Hadrian Hatfield of Shulman Rogers discussed the state circuit courts’ ability in the aftermath of Simbaina v. Bunay to make predicate orders for “special immigrant juvenile” determinations, concluding that the Court of Special Appeals’ decision has made the SIJ process “more straightforward and efficient.”
- Proceedings and filings after a bankruptcy stay in Maryland: void, or merely voidable? I pointed out that the Court of Special Appeals, in Kochhar v. Bansal, has finally picked a side for the state. Later, in April, I also made brief mention of proposed changes to the Maryland Rules that could give you longer than 40 days after notice that an appeal has been filed in which to file your brief.
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