October 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants

Last week, the Court of Appeals granted certiorari in four cases, including one bypass, to squarely address whether Maryland should adopt the Daubert standard for admitting expert testimony:


Jonathan Hemming v. State of Maryland – Case No. 48, September Term, 2019

(Unreported CSA Opinion by Wells, J.)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Does a trial court have discretion under Md. Rule 4-253 to bifurcate separate counts between judge and jury in a single trial? 2) Did the trial court mistakenly believe that it had no authority under Rule 4-253 to bifurcate separate counts between judge and jury in a single trial and, as a result, fail to exercise its discretion under the rule? 3) Assuming, arguendo, that the trial court recognized and exercised its discretion, was the court’s refusal to bifurcate the counts charging possession of a regulated firearm by a disqualified person and possession of ammunition by a disqualified person from the remaining counts of the indictment an abuse of discretion under the circumstances of this case?

In the Matter of Bernard L. Collins – Case No. 49, September Term, 2019

(Reported CSA Opinion by D. Eyler, J.)

Issues – Workers’ Compensation – Did the release in the settlement agreement between Mr. Collins, Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department, Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company and Selective Insurance Company operate to bar Mrs. Collins’ subsequent claim for death benefits under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act? ?


Stanley Rochkind, et al. v. Starlena Stevenson – Case No. 47, September Term, 2019

(On Bypass from the Circuit Court for Baltimore City)

Issues – Torts – 1) Was it error for the trial court to allow Plaintiff’s medical causation expert to testify that Plaintiff has attentional and behavioral injuries without providing a reliable method for attributing those injuries to lead exposure when Plaintiff had already been diagnosed with ADHD? 2) Was it error for the trial court to allow Plaintiff’s medical expert to render specific causation opinions based on general epidemiological studies? 3) Should the Court adopt the standard for admitting expert testimony under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993)? 4) Was Plaintiff’s medical causation expert’s specific causation opinion admissible in this case under Rule 5-702, applying the standard set forth in Daubert?


Teddy Shannon v. State of Maryland– Case No. 46, September Term, 2019

(Reported CSA Opinion by Thieme, J.)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Should Petitioner’s conviction for illegal possession of a regulated firearm, after a disqualifying conviction for possession with intent to distribute, be affirmed, notwithstanding the drafting error in Count Five of the indictment which mislabeled the disqualifying conviction – ‘to wit: 05/09/2008, Possession with Intent to Distributed, Case No.: 107312013’ – as a “crime of violence”? 2) Did the CSA err in holding that the original indictment charged a violation of Public Safety Article (“P.S.”), §5-133(c)(1)(i), and that an amendment with Petitioner’s consent was necessary to change the character of that predicate offense to a violation of P.S. §5-133(c)(1)(ii)?

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