December 2017 Maryland Certiorari Grants
Seasons greetings from the Maryland Appellate Blog! Is there a better gift than news of freshly-granted writs of cert? You be the judge—the Court of Appeals of Maryland granted seven today.
Mark Armacost v. Reginald J. Davis– Case No. 69, September Term, 2017
Issues – Torts – 1) In a medical negligence case, is it reversible and prejudicial error to instruct the jury using instructions that frame negligence in the context of a “reasonable person”? 2) When a trial court perceives that a civil jury is deadlocked on the third day of deliberations, may the court give a neutral and non-coercive modified Allen charge that neither invades the province of the jury nor favors either party? 3) Does an appellate court abuse its discretion when it reverses a trial court on grounds not raised at trial nor briefed by the appellant?
Carl Franklin Burnside v. State of Maryland– Case No. 71, September Term, 2017
Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Where Petitioner was on trial for a felony drug offense and the theory of the defense was clear and consistent throughout the trial, did the trial court abuse its discretion in refusing to rule upon the admissibility for impeachment purposes of Petitioner’s prior felony drug conviction prior to Petitioner’s election of whether or not to testify? 2) Did CSA misapply the harmless error standard, as recently reiterated by this Court in Porter v. State, 455 Md. 220 (2017), in finding that the trial court’s error in permitting the impeachment of a defense witness was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt? 3) Did CSA err in failing to find unpreserved Petitioner’s claim that the trial court erred in not ruling on the admissibility of his prior drug conviction before his election whether to testify?
Brian Donlon v. Montgomery County Public Schools– Case No. 68, September Term, 2017
Issues – State Personnel & Pensions – 1) What is the relationship of county school employees to the state in the context of Md. whistleblower protection laws? 2) What distinctions matter in Md.’s application of the doctrine of judicial estoppel?
In re: Adoption/Guardianship of H.W.– Case No. 70, September Term, 2017
Issues – Family Law – 1) Did CSA improperly proscribe juvenile courts from considering factors critical to the determination of a child’s best interests when it held that, in determining whether to terminate parental rights, juvenile courts may not consider either the emotional effects of a change in custody upon the child or the stability and certainty of the child’s future? 2) In determining that it is in the child’s best interests to terminate the parental rights of an incarcerated parent whom the child has never met, did the juvenile court permissibly consider the following factors (1) the potential emotional effect on the child of a change of custody; (2) the instability and uncertainty of the child’s future in the custody of the parent; and (3) the stability and certainty of the child’s future in the custody of the prospective adoptive parents?
Bernadette Fowler Lamson v. Montgomery County, Maryland– Case No. 67, September Term, 2017
Issue – State Government – Did CSA err in ruling that a supervisor may maintain off-line records concerning employees under her supervision to shield them from production under the MPIA?
SVF Riva Annapolis LLC, et al. v. Moreen Elizabeth Gilroy, et al.– Case No. 66, September Term, 2017
Issues – Courts & Judicial Proceedings – 1) Did CSA usurp the role of the legislature when, under the guise of statutory construction, it remedied a purported defect in the “use and possession exception” (Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-108(d)(2)(i)) to Md.’s statute of repose? 2) Did CSA errr in insisting on an expansive interpretation of § 5-108(d)(2)(i) that conflicts with this Court’s prior, narrowly-tailored interpretation? 3) Did CSA err in broadly interpreting one exception to Md.’s statute of repose, effectively nullifying the statute as set forth in § 5-108(a)? 4) Did CSA err in reversing the trial court’s decision to grant the respondents’ motions for summary judgment based upon § 5-108(d)(2)(i)? 5) Did CSA err in reversing the trial court’s decision to grant respondents’ motions for summary judgment even though alternative grounds existed to affirm summary judgment solely based upon questions of law?
Brian Tate v. State of Maryland– Case No. 65, September Term, 2017
Issue – Criminal Law – Was Petitioner’s guilty plea record sufficient to conclude he understood the nature and elements of first-degree murder, despite the fact that he was a minor with diminished mental capacity and no one addressed the nature and elements of the crime on the record?