May 2021 Maryland Certiorari Grants

Today the Maryland Court of Appeals granted certiorari in five civil cases, one criminal case, and one juvenile case. This March, Alan Sternstein posted about the Court of Special Appeals decision in one of the civil cases, Mercer.

Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Thornton Mellon, LLC, et al. – Case No. 6, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Shaw Geter)

Issues – Tax-Property – 1) Is a tax sale certificate no longer assignable once a court enters judgment foreclosing the right of redemption? 2) Assuming, arguendo, that a tax sale certificate is assignable after foreclosure, was the purported assignment here nonetheless invalid for failure to comply with provisions of law relating to the short assignment of mortgages? 3) Is a judgment foreclosing the right of redemption non-assignable? 4) Assuming, arguendo, that a foreclosure judgment is assignable, must the assignment be filed and docketed in the circuit court, not merely attached as an exhibit to a motion, before the assignee can enforce the judgment in the assignee’s name?

Park Plus, Inc. v. Palisades of Towson, LLC and Encore Development Corp – Case No. 7, September Term, 2021 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Meredith)

Issues – Civil Procedure – 1) Did CSA err in affirming the order compelling arbitration and ignoring the principles set forth in Shailendra Kumar, P.A. v. Anand M. Dhanda, 426 Md. 185 (2012)? 2) Did CSA err in following Gannett Fleming, Inc. v. Corman Construction, Inc., 243 Md.App. 376 (2019), which limited the application of Kumar to contracts for non-binding arbitration and held that Md. Code § 5-101 of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article does not govern claims subject to contractual arbitration? 3) Did the trial court and CSA err by treating a petition to compel arbitration as a “claim” with a separate limitations period, rather than as a remedy that must be properly invoked within the applicable limitations period for the substantive claim? 4) In the alternative, did the trial court err in failing to refer the statute-of-limitations issue to the arbitrator, and thereafter in confirming the arbitral award, even though the arbitrator refused to hear Petitioner’s affirmative defense based on the statue of limitations applicable to Respondent’s claim?

Pabst Brewing Company v. Frederick P. Winner, Ltd. – Case No. 8, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Berger)

Issue – Alcoholic Beverages – When control of a beer brand changes hands through a sale of the stock of a beer manufacturer, is there a “successor beer manufacturer” with the right to terminate a distribution agreement?

Jason Mercer v. Thomas B. Finan Center – Case No. 9, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Arthur)

Issue – Health-General – Did CSA err by holding that Md. Code § 10-708 of the Health-General Article does not require an Administrative Law Judge to make an on-the-record assessment of whether the Respondent waived his statutory right to counsel?

In re: S.F. – Case No. 10, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Nazarian)

Issue – Juvenile Law – Is it improper for a juvenile court to make a school’s discretionary decision to suspend a child a violation of the child’s probation?

Everette William Johnson v. State of Maryland – Case No. 11, September Term, 2021 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Sharer; Dissent by Judge Friedman)

Issue – Criminal Law – Is a defendant’s right to a unanimous jury verdict violated when the State presents evidence of multiple incidents at trial to prove a single charged count, in the absence of an election between the incidents or a special jury instruction?

Karen Webb v. Giant of Maryland LLC – Case No. 12, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Kenney)

Issues – Civil Procedure – 1) In reviewing the denial of a motion for summary judgment but not the denial of a motion for judgment under the abuse of discretion standard, did CSA depart from its own precedent in holding that a trial court’s denial of both motions for summary judgment and/or for judgment are reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard? 2) Where the evidence did not change between summary judgment and through trial, did CSA, which upheld the trial court’s denial of a motion for summary judgment on an issue of material fact, then err in reversing the trial court’s ruling denying the motion for judgment addressing the same issue of material fact? 3) Where CSA indicated that there was sufficient evidence to argue that jurors could draw negative inferences from the absence of video footage of the incident, did CSA err both in holding that the trial court’s decision to provide a standard spoliation instruction was an abuse of discretion and in holding that giving the instruction also resulted in probable prejudice?

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