October 2018 Maryland Certiorari Grants (Batch #2)

The Maryland Court of Appeals granted certiorari today in seven cases. The likely headliner is In re S.K., reviewing a 16 year-old’s conviction for distributing child pornography, based on her texting two friends a video depicting herself engaged in lawful and consensual sexual conduct.

The grants, with questions presented, are below.

Lawrence R. Carver v. RBS Citizens, N.A., et al  – Case No. 45, September Term, 2018

Issue – Civil Procedure – Did CSA err by dismissing Petitioner’s appeal as premature?

Cushman & Wakefield of Maryland, Inc., et al. v. DRV Greentec, LLC – Case No. 42, September Term, 2018 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Wright, J.)

Issues – Contract Law – 1) Is a third-party beneficiary without rights to enforce a contract unless he is a “primary party in interest” to the contract, or does Maryland follow the modern interpretation allowing a third party to enforce a contract right if it is appropriate to effectuate the intention of the parties? 2) When a successor landlord expressly assumes a lease, and expressly represents that he is assuming “all” obligations of that lease, and has actual notice and knowledge of the lease provisions benefitting intended third parties beneficiaries, is he also assuming obligations of the original landlord to the intended third-party beneficiaries?

Michelle Gallagher v. Mercy Medical Center, Inc. – Case No. 44, September Term, 2018 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Kehoe, J.)

Issues – Torts – 1) Does the One Satisfaction Rule bar recovery in a lawsuit against a subsequent tortfeasor when no judgment was entered in a prior lawsuit and the prior lawsuit was resolved by settlement and a release that did not release claims against the subsequent tortfeasor? 2) Did the trial court err in granting summary judgment and did CSA err in affirming the summary judgment because both courts failed to follow Maryland precedent regarding the One Satisfaction Rule and retarding the effect of release and settlement of claims?

Travis Howell v. State of Maryland – Case No. 43, September Term, 2018 (Reported COSA Opinion by Berger, J.)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Is duress a defense to constructive criminal contempt? 2) Did CSA err in finding that Petitioner failed to meet the “some evidence” requirement to generate the defense of duress?

In re: S.K. – Case No. 41, September Term, 2018 (Reported COSA Opinion by Fader, J.)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did the juvenile court err in finding 16-year old S.K. involved in distributing child pornography as proscribed by Md. Crim. Law Art. §11-207(a), where she was both the sender and the only depicted minor, and where the act depicted was not in itself criminal? 2) Did the juvenile court properly find S.K. involved in the offense of displaying an obscene item to a minor despite the fact that, as the Court of Special Appeals held, the statute does not specifically state that it applies to “an electronically-transmitted digital video file”?

LVNV Funding LLC v. Larry Finch, et al. – Case No. 46, September Term, 2018 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Berger, J.)

Issues – Business Regulations – 1) Is a judgment obtained in favor of an unlicensed collection agency by a court that has fundamental jurisdiction over the cause of action void ab initio rather than voidable? 2) Can those sued by an unlicensed collection agency, and who suffered no other injury as a result, premise private claims under the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act (“MCDCA”) and on common law on nothing more than a violation of Maryland Collection Agency Licensing Act (“MCALA”), a statute that provides no private right of action? 3) Is an entity that owns consumer debt, and that retains a licensed collection agency to collect on that debt, nonetheless a “Collection Agency” under MCALA? 4) Did Petitioner assert a particularized objection to a jury instruction to preserve appellate review? 5) Did CSA abuse its discretion by disregarding the holding of Philip Morris USA v. Christensen, 394 Md. 224, 264-65 (2006) which adopted the doctrine of class action tolling in Md? 6) Does a party’s cause of action accrue before he or she has actual damages? 7) Did Petitioner present any admissible evidence to the trial court to support its affirmative defense that any subclass members’ claims were barred by the of statute of limitations?

State of Maryland v. Harry Malik Robertson – Case No. 40, September Term, 2018 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Krauser, J.)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) What is the appropriate standard of review of a trial court’s ruling that a party has “opened the door” to otherwise inadmissible evidence? 2) Applying the appropriate standard of review, did CSA err by substituting its judgment for the trial court’s determination that the Respondent had opened the door to otherwise inadmissible evidence?

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