May 2020 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Maryland Court of Appeals has posted three new certiorari grants. It also recently accepted a certified question from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The four cases, with questions presented, are listed below.

Jose Canales-Yanez v. State of Maryland – Case No. 11, September Term, 2020 (Reported COSA Opinion by Beachley, J.)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) When a Brady violation occurs during a bench trial, is the test for materiality satisfied simply by the judge’s determination that his verdict would not have changed had the evidence not been suppressed unless such a conclusion would be patently unreasonable, without giving due consideration to the effect of the suppression of evidence on the defense case preparation and trial strategy? 2) Did CSA err in finding that the Brady violation did not undermine confidence in the verdict?

Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. v. Director, Department of Finance of Baltimore City– Case No. 9, September Term, 2020 (Reported COSA Opinion by Berger, J.)

Issues – Constitutional Law– 1) Is the operation of billboards protected by the First Amendment, thereby subjecting its taxation to heightened scrutiny? 2) Does the Tax single out a single platform for speech or a small group of speakers, thereby subjecting it to heightened scrutiny?

Ashley Hector, et al. v. Bank of New York Mellon– Case No. 10, September Term, 2020 (Reported COSA Opinion by Beachley, J.)

Issues – Estates & Trusts – 1) As a matter of first impression, can a business Trust be individually liable for compliance with the Baltimore City Housing Code, pursuant to an interpretation of Estates & Trusts Art. §14.5-908? 2) Did CSA err in carving out an exception to Allen v. Dackman, 413 Md. 132 (2010), for a bank that was the Trustee of a mortgage-backed security, and that foreclosed on an old deteriorated property in Baltimore and then purchases said property at auction? 3) May a Bank acting as Trustee which owned a rental property face liability based upon the local Housing Code, or do the Bank’s own internal documents and agreements decide the scope of liability?

United Bank v. Richard Buckingham, et al. – Misc. No. 1, September Term, 2020

Certified Question from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Questions: (1) Whether the Maryland Uniform Fraudulent Conveyances Act, see Md. Code Ann., Com. Law §§ 15-201 et seq., which generally applies to “conveyances” made with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud creditors, reaches a change in life insurance beneficiary, particularly in light of Md. Code Ann., Ins. § 16-111(d)? (2) Whether Md. Code Ann., Est. & Trusts § 15-102 grants a guardian of property the authority to change the beneficiaries of life insurance policies?

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