December 2021 Maryland Certiorari Grants
The Maryland Court of Appeals yesterday granted certiorari in five appeals, all of them civil cases.
CX Reinsurance Company Limited and Liberty Mutual Mid-Atlantic Insurance Company v. Devon S. Johnson, et al. – Case No. 47, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Beachley)
Issues – Insurance Law – 1) Did CSA err in refusing to interpret insurance policies like other contracts, concluding that “sound public policy dictates that liability insurance policies should be construed to protect injured tort claimants” notwithstanding their terms? 2) Did CSA err in holding that all claimants who have asserted or will assert claims are intended beneficiaries of insurance policies, with vested interests in those policies from the date of their alleged injuries, and have the same rights under those policies as claimants who have obtained judgments or entered into settlements? 3) Did CSA err in holding that an insured and its insurer cannot resolve litigation by entering a settlement, in good faith, that modifies or reduces insurance coverage without the consent of all current and future tort claimants?
Administrative Office of the Courts, et al. v. Abell Foundation – Case No. 48, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Nazarian)
Issue – Maryland Rules – Did CSA misinterpret the administrative-record exemption of Maryland Rule 16-905(f)(3)(B)(i), which directs a custodian of judicial records to deny inspection of an administrative record “prepared by or for a judge” that is “purely administrative in nature but not a local rule, policy, or directive” and is “not filed with the clerk and not required to be filed with the clerk,” when CSA concluded that the exemption did not apply to a mainframe edit table correlating each District Court judge with an alphanumeric code and ordered disclosure of the mainframe edit table?
Irwin Industrial Tool Company v. Christine Pifer, et al. – Case No. 49, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Nazarian)
Issues – Evidence – 1) Did CSA err in reversing the authenticity threshold applied by the trial court for the admissibility of items purchased from the internet? 2) Did CSA err in ignoring the alternative grounds for summary judgment encompassed in the trial court’s order?
Christopher W. Mee, et al. v. Robert Peterson, et al. – Case No. 50, September Term, 2021 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Sharer)
Issue – Courts & Judicial Proceedings – Did CSA err in its interpretation of Md. Code §5-109(a) of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article (“CJP”), as interpreted by this Court’s decision in Anderson v. United States of America, 427 Md. 99, 46 A.3d 426 (2012), which held that CJP § 5-109 is a statute of limitations in its entirety, not a statute of repose, and that the triggering period for limitations is when the victim of an alleged medical malpractice sustained cognizable legal harm, not a subclinical medical condition that has caused no apparent injury or concern and that would not have triggered any investigation until a much later time period?
Thornton Mellon LLC, et al. v. Frederick County Sheriff, et al. – Case No. 51, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Friedman)
Issues – Real Property – 1) Do sheriffs who are commanded to enforce writs of possession issued in a tax sale proceeding have the authority to adopt and impose on tax sale purchasers a “Mover Policy,” which policy requires a tax sale purchaser to provide, at the time of the writ of possession, a crew of movers and moving equipment sufficient to remove the prior owner’s personal property that remains inside the property? 2) Do sheriffs who are commanded to enforce writs of possession issued in a tax sale proceeding have the authority to adopt and impose on tax sale purchasers a “Weather Policy,” which policy allows sheriffs to decline to serve a writ of possession during inclement weather? 3) Where the General Assembly has codified statutes governing the eviction process in tax sale proceedings, do sheriffs have the “fairly-implied power” to enact their own policies concerning the eviction process? 4) Did CSA err in holding that there was no genuine dispute of material fact regarding the content of the policies adopted by sheriffs?