The Certified Questions Keep on Coming
Maryland law allows federal courts to certify questions of state law to the Maryland Court of Appeals. Each annual term, going back to 2014, the Court of Appeals has heard between one and three cases on certification from the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland.
Last week, in United States v. Dickson, the Fourth Circuit certified the following question to the Court of Appeals: “Under Maryland Law, can an individual be convicted of robbery by means of threatening force against property or threatening to accuse the victim of having committed sodomy?”
Dickson is the sixth case that federal courts have certified to the Court of Appeals for the term beginning September 1, 2021. The Court of Appeals had already accepted questions certified by the U.S. District Court in five civil cases. By comparison, the Court of Appeals has granted certiorari review in 23 cases for the 2021 Term so far.
It’s too soon to tell whether this sharp increase reflects a trend or is statistical noise.
For anyone who is interested, here is a list of cases in which the Court of Appeals has accepted certified questions from federal courts since the 2014 Term.
|Docket No.||Caption||Certifying Court|
|COA-MISC-0001-2014||Joseph Antonio, et al. v. SSA Security, Inc. d/b/a Security Services of America||4th Cir.|
|COA-MISC-0002-2014||Patriot Electric and Mechanical, Inc. v. Manufactures and Traders Trust Company||Bankr. D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0005-2014||Roger Schlossberg, Chapter 7 Trustee v. Bell Builders Remodeling, Inc., et al.||Bankr. D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0002-2015||Midland Funding, LLC v. Cassandra A Murray||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0019-2015||Edward J. and Vicki Fangman, et al. v. Genuine Title, LLC, et al.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0012-2016||Parameshwar Mahasreshti v. Matthew Miller et al.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0001-2017||Quanta Brownlee, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., et al.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0004-2017||Amber Ben-Davies v. Blibaum & Associates, P.A. Bryione K. Moore v. Blibaum & Associates, P.A.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0001-2018||William Price, et al v. Ralph M. Murdy, et al.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0006-2019||Baltimore City Police Department, et al. v. Ivan Potts||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0010-2019||Desiree Berry and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. Andrae Queen, and others similarly situated||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0001-2020||United Bank v. Richard Buckingham, et al.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0008-2020||In re: Anthony D. Walker and Denicia P. Walker||Bankr. D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0013-2020||First United Corporation v. Driver Opportunity Partners I, LP, et al.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0001-2021||Paul Moore v. RealPage Utility Management, Inc.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0003-2021||Jabari Morese Lyles v. Santander Consumer USA Inc.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0004-2021||Westfield Insurance Company v. Michael Gilliam||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0005-2021||Jesse J. Murphy, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0006-2021||Nagle & Zaller, P.C., et al. v. Jahmal E. Delegall, et al.||D. Md.|
|COA-MISC-0007-2021||Joel Adam Dickson v. United States of America||4th Cir.|