June 2021 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Court of Appeals today granted certiorari in three criminal appeals and three civil appeals.

Marlon Koushall v. State of Maryland – Case No. 13, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Chief Judge Fader)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Where a conviction for misconduct in office is based on the corrupt doing of an unlawful act, does the conviction for the “unlawful act” merge with the conviction for misconduct in office for sentencing purposes? 2) Was there sufficient evidence to support Petitioner’s convictions for assault in the second degree and misconduct in office?

Mario Ernesto Amaya, et al. v. DGS Construction, LLC, et al. – Case No. 14, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Shaw Geter)

Issues – Labor & Employment – 1) Do the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (“MWHL”), Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (“MWPCL”), and COMAR adopt and incorporate the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), federal Portal-to-Portal Act (“PPA”), and Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) sections where the Maryland statutes, regulations, and legislative history never adopted or incorporated them? 2) Is the definition of “work” under the MWHL, MWPCL, and COMAR limited to what is considered “compensable work” under the PPA, despite the Maryland General Assembly and regulators never incorporating the federal laws or otherwise saying so? 3) Does a “worksite” or “prescribed workplace” under COMAR 09.12.41.10 include a location that an employer directs its employees to report?

State of Maryland v. Kirk Matthews – Case No. 15, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Nazarian)

Issue – Criminal Law – Did CSA err by holding that an expert witness created an “analytical gap,” and thus rendered her testimony inadmissible as a matter of law, by acknowledging the limitations of her scientific methodology?

Daniel Beckwitt v. State of Maryland – Case No. 16, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Beachley)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) As a matter of first impression, was the evidence legally sufficient to permit a rational trier of fact to find that Petitioner was guilty of involuntary manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt for permitting the victim to work in a home with hoarding conditions accompanied by power outages? 2) As a matter of first impression, is legal duty manslaughter a type of gross negligence manslaughter that serves as a lesser-included offense of depraved-heart murder, thereby requiring review of Petitioner’s challenges to the legal duty manslaughter conviction? 3) Did the trial court commit reversible error by failing to instruct the essential elements of legal duty manslaughter, for which there is no pattern jury instruction? 4) As a matter of first impression, did the trial court lack subject matter jurisdiction to enter a conviction against an occupant of a home on a common law involuntary manslaughter charge resulting from an accidental house fire? 5) As a matter of first impression, does the line separating second-degree depraved heart murder and gross negligence manslaughter depend upon the likelihood of death and, if so, was the evidence sufficient in this case to support the jury’s verdict of second-degree murder?

Juan Carlos Terrones Rojas, et al. v. F.R. General Contractors, Inc., et al. – Case No. 17, September Term, 2021 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Shaw Geter)

Issues – Labor & Employment – 1) Do the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (“MWHL”), Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (“MWPCL”), and COMAR adopt and incorporate the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), federal Portal-to-Portal Act (“PPA”), and Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) sections where the Maryland statutes, regulations, and legislative history never adopted or incorporated them? 2) Is the definition of “work” under the MWHL, MWPCL, and COMAR limited to what is considered “compensable work” under the PPA, despite the Maryland General Assembly and regulators never incorporating the federal laws or otherwise saying so? 3) Does a “worksite” or “prescribed workplace” under COMAR 09.12.41.10 include a location that an employer directs its employees to report? 4) Did CSA err in importing the federal PPA compensability requirements in determining whether a benefit was conferred on Respondents for the purpose of proving a Maryland common law unjust enrichment claim, especially when Respondents failed to move for judgment on that claim?

Traci Spiegel, et al. v. Board of Education of Howard County – Case No. 18, September Term, 2021 (Bypass Review)

Issues – Education – 1) Does the Maryland Constitution prevent minors 11 years of age and older from selecting a member holding a binding voting position on the Howard County Board of Education, whether by election, appointment, or any other means? 2) Does the Maryland Constitution prevent minors from holding the office of a binding voting position on the Board of Education of Howard County, a board which possesses general governmental power?

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