August 2015 Certiorari Grants

Summer’s winding down, and the Court of Appeals is getting back into high gear with 10 new certiorari grants. Hint: If you’re as interested in this case even a fraction as much as Alan Sternstein has been, you’re going to want to check out the full rundown after the jump.

Granted August 21, 2015

Justin Davis v. Wicomoco County Bureau – Case No. 46, September Term, 2015

Issues – Family Law – 1) Is blood or genetic testing mandated when demanded by a putative father who, from the beginning of the legal process, presents evidence of fraudulent affidavits of parentage? 2) Does extrinsic evidence of fraud exist where the state’s attorney actively participates in the deception and fraud without disclosing it to the putative father or to the lower court during two trials?

Fraternal Order of Police, et al. v. Montgomery County Maryland et al. – Case No. 45, September Term, 2015

Issues – Election Law – 1) May a Home Rule Charter County engage in electioneering and a political campaign using public funds, public employees, and other governmental resources to advocate how voters should vote on a referendum on a local law? 2) Do the guarantee of Free Elections in Article 7 of the Declaration of Rights, the State comprehensive campaign finance statue, and State and county laws and regulations prohibiting on-the-job political activities by public employees bar a Home Rule Charter County and/or its public officials from using the municipal corporation, including its public funds, employees, and other governmental resources to engage in electioneering and a political campaign to advocate how voters should vote on a referendum on a local law? 3) Are local public officials subject to the campaign finance organization and activity (Subtitle 2) and reporting (Subtitle 3) requirements of Title 13, Md. Code Ann., Election Law (1957, 2010 Repl. Vol.)(“EL”) when they authorize and engage in electioneering and a political campaign using public funds, public employees, and other governmental resources, including the name of the County, to advocate how voters should vote on a referendum on a local law? 4) Where local public officials authorize and engage in the expenditure of public funds, use of public employees, and other governmental resources to engage in unlawful and ultra vires electioneering and a political campaign in the name of the local government, to advocate how voters should vote on a referendum on a local law, is “qualified immunity” a defense against causes of action for civil misconduct in office, a taxpayers action, and violation of the Declaration of Rights? 5) Are plaintiffs who, at their own expense, successfully challenge the unlawful and ultra vires actions of a local government and its public officials in authorizing and/or engaging in impermissible electioneering and political campaign entitled to an award of counsel fees? 6) Did Petitioners prove that the County’s authority to engage in government speech harmed them in a manner different than the public? 7) Did Petitioners failure to seek prompt judicial review bar their suit? 8) Did Petitioners meet the standards to bring suit as set out in EL § 12-202?

Andrew Glenn v. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Case No. 48, September Term, 2015

Issues – State Government – 1) Did CSA err in granting deference to the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (“Department”)’s legal conclusion that it was authorized, under § 4-358 of the Public Information Act (“PIA”) (Md. Code Gen. Prov. § 4-101 et seq.), to redact the records in question? 2) Did CSA err in substituting for the PIA’s requirement of proof of “substantial injury to the public interest” the far less demanding standard of mere “greater risk” that disclosure of public information might have a “chilling effect” on owners of regulated businesses?

Angela Ann Grimm v. State of Maryland – Case No. 49, September Term, 2015

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) May a witness’s testimony that he does not remember whether an act occurred constitute sufficient corroboration of an extra-judicial confession by the defendant that the act in fact occurred? 2) Can a criminal defendant’s uncorroborated confession constitute sufficient evidence to support a conviction for sexual abuse of a minor?

Beverly Annetta Hall v. State of Maryland – Case No. 50, September Term, 2015

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) As an issue of first impression, is Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3-602.1, the criminal neglect of a minor statute, unconstitutional because it is vague? 2) Was the evidence sufficient to support the conviction for neglect of a minor?

Daniel M. Mensah v. MCT Federal Credit Union – Case No. 54, September Term, 2015

Issues – Courts and Judicial Proceedings – 1) Does Maryland Law allow a judgment creditor to garnish wages earned by a judgment-debtor employee exclusively for work performed in Texas pursuant to a writ of garnishment issued by a Maryland court? 2) Does Maryland law allow a judgment creditor to garnish wages earned by a judgment-debtor employee exclusively for work performed in Texas pursuant to a writ of garnishment issued by a Maryland court and served on an employer in New Jersey?

O’Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc. v. City of Salisbury – Case No. 53, September Term, 2015

Issues – Torts – 1) Whether CSA erred in expanding the scope of the “litigation privilege” and finding that no claim can stand for a deliberate and voluntary breach of a binding non-disparagement agreement when the disparaging statements are made in legal proceedings, even when the agreement contains no exception for statements made in legal proceedings? 2) Whether CSA erred in deciding the case on a Motion to Dismiss, without resolving or allowing any exploration or litigation of factual questions related to the parties’ expectations and intentions bearing on the scope and effect of the non-disparagement clause?

Reliable Contracting Company v. Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Authority – Case No. 47, September Term, 2015

Issues – Public Utilities – 1) Does Public Utilities (PU) § 12-135 violate Art. IV of the Md. Constitution and/or Art. 24 of the Md. Declaration of Rights in vesting plenary judicial power in the Maryland Underground Damage Prevention Authority to issue citations and adjudicate all cases involving violations of the Miss Utility Statute? 2) Does PU § 12-135 violate Art. IV of the Md. Constitution and/or Art. 24 of the Md. Declaration of Rights in vesting the Maryland Underground Damage Prevention Authority in fixing the amount of penalty, within broad limits, up to $2,000.00 for a first offense and up to $4,000.00 for a subsequent offense, without any legislative safeguards or standards? 3) Is the Maryland Underground Damage Prevention Authority a unit of the Executive Branch?

David Glenn Seal v. State of Maryland – Case No. 51, September Term, 2015

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did CSA err in holding that the taped telephone call between Petitioner and Mr. W. was admissible? 2) Does Md.’s wiretapping statute authorize a Md. law enforcement office to provide a resident of another state with an electronic wiretapping device to be used by that individual, two weeks later, to record telephone conversations with a resident of a third state and use those recordings in a criminal proceeding in Maryland? 3) When a Md. law enforcement officer provides a resident of another state with an electronic wiretapping device to be used at that person’s pleasure, does use of the device constitute “acting . . . under the supervision of a . . . law enforcement officer” pursuant to the Md. Wiretap Statute?

State of Maryland v. Tyshon Leteek Jones – Case No. 52, September Term, 2015

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) As a matter of first impression, where the modality of the commission of a first degree assault is use of a firearm, is first degree assault an inherently dangerous felony capable of supporting a conviction for second degree felony murder or a non-inherently dangerous felony that would support a conviction for second degree felony murder only if committed in an inherently dangerous manner? 2) As a matter of first impression, where the modality of the commission of a first degree assault is the intent to cause or attempt to cause serious physical injury, is first degree assault a lesser included offense of second degree intent-to-inflict-grievous-bodily-harm murder?

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