November 2015 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The new Adele record wasn’t the only exciting thing to be released Friday: The Court of Appeals also released a new round of certiorari grants! Check out the seven new cases — which include questions about tax refunds, administrative law, disability discrimination, and appellate review of suppression rulings — after the jump.

Granted November 20, 2015

Terrance J. Brown v. State of Maryland – Case No. 64, September Term, 2015

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Pursuant to the “supplemental rule of interpretation,” where a motions court makes a legal determination without making factual findings, must an appellate court fill in the fact-finding gaps by giving little or no weight to the losing party’s evidence, discrediting the losing party’s witnesses, and resolving any ambiguities and drawing all inferences in favor of the prevailing party? 2) In reversing a suppression ruling, may an appellate court rely on a fact on which conflicting evidence was presented below or must the court accept the version of facts most favorable to the prevailing party? 3) What effect does a motions judge’s failure to make factual findings to support its legal conclusion have on the parameters of the appellate court’s review where conflicting versions of events necessitating factual findings were not presented at the motions hearing? 4) Did CSA err in reversing the motions court’s grant of Petitioner’s suppression motion?

Brutus 630, LLC v. Town of Bel Air, Maryland – Case No. 67, September Term, 2015

Issues – Local Government – 1) Does Md. Code Ann. Art. 24 §§ 9-710 and 9-712 restrict a citizen’s right to claim a refund of erroneously paid or collected money only to fees or charges that are “in the nature of taxes” where the plain language of the statute permits the citizen to apply for a refund, and to appeal the denial of a claim for a refund, of a “tax, fee, charge…”? 2) Does the Tax Court have jurisdiction to hear and decide a claim for refund of systems connection charges? 3) Is a systems connection charge a “tax”, a “fee” or a “charge”, or a fee or a charge “in the nature of a tax” so that the Tax Court has jurisdiction over an appeal by the claimant from a denial of its refund claim?

Michael A. DiNapoli, et al. v. Board of Appeals of Queen Anne’s County, et al. – Case No. 66, September Term, 2015

Issues – Local Government – 1) What is the proper standard of review for county Boards of Appeals to apply when ruling on motions to dismiss? 2) Does the heightened aggrievement standard applied by the Queen Anne’s County Board of Appeals and the reviewing courts, pursuant to Queen Anne’s Co. Code § 18:1-119.A(1)(a) conflict with Md. Code Ann., Local Gov’t § 10-305(a)(4), which allows for petition to a county board of appeals by “any interested person”? 3) Is it error to defer to an administrative agency’s ruling on a question of law where the agency has admitted on the record that it is confused as to the applicable legal standard, has refused to follow the advice of agency counsel, and has expressed its desire for clarification and further guidance from the reviewing courts? 4) Did CSA improperly substitute its own judgment for that of the Board of Appeals in holding that Petitioners had not alleged the necessary elements for taxpayer standing where the Board’s Findings and Decision remained silent on this issue?

Terrance Jamal Grant v. State of Maryland – Case No. 65, September Term, 2015

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Where the State has the burden to prove that a warrantless search was lawful, the resolution of the suppression motion turns on a specific fact, and the motions court finds that the evidence to this fact is “not clear,” does the motions court err in denying the motion to suppress? 2) Does MD recognize the “supplemental rule of interpretation” by which an appellate court fills in fact-finding gaps and resolves fact-finding ambiguities and does this rule allow a reviewing court to fill in a fact that is inconsistent with a fact found by the motions court where the reviewing court does not find the fact clearly erroneous? 3) Where a motions court’s factual finding with its subsequent legal conclusion, may an appellate court affirm the denial of the suppression motion on the basis of an inference that is inconsistent with the motions court’s factual finding?

Peninsula Regional Medical Center v. Tracey L. Adkins – Case No. 68, September Term, 2015

Issues – Labor and Employment – 1) Under MD’s Fair Employment Practices Act, is an employee required to show that she is a “qualified individual with a disability,” before an employer has a duty to provide a reasonable accommodation? 2) May a plaintiff prevail on a disability discrimination or failure to accommodate claim where that employee failed to engage in the interactive process with the employer?

Donald B. Spangler, et al. v. Peggy McQuitty, et vir. – Case No. 69, September Term, 2015

Issues – Torts – 1) Whether Maryland follows the majority of jurisdictions which hold that a prior personal injury judgment obtained by the decedent completely precludes any subsequent wrongful death action based on the same negligent conduct? 2) Whether the decedent’s release, wherein he covenanted that “wrongful death beneficiaries… will not maintain any action for wrongful death,” precluded Respondents from filing a wrongful death action against Petitioners?

 

Granted November 23, 2015

Michael Davon Christian v. Stewart Levitas – Case No. 70, September Term, 2015

Issues – Torts – 1) Whether the trial court erred and/or abused its discretion when it granted Respondent’s motion to exclude the testimony of Petitioner’s medical expert as to the issue of Petitioner’s injuries caused by his exposure to lead and as to the issue of the source of Petitioner’s lead exposure? 2) Whether the trial court erred and/or abused its discretion when it granted Respondent’s motion for reconsideration and subsequently denied Petitioner’s motions for reconsideration? 3) Whether the trial court erred and/or abused its discretion when it granted Respondent’s second renewed motion for summary judgment?

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