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It’s Official: Maryland Accepts Daubert as Controlling Law for Admitting Expert Testimony

Editor’s Note: The author of this post represented the Defendant in the appeal. This article does not address any case-specific facts and instead focuses on the holding’s impact on Maryland law generally. As with all of our posts, it contains only the author’s personal opinions, not those of his firm or his clients. This is the blog’s first substantive post on Rochkind, and we expect to have more. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please contact the editor-in-chief.

By Derek Stikeleather

After more than a decade of incrementally adopting the Daubert standard—and the steady erosion of Frye-Reed as an independent, additional requirement for trial courts applying Maryland Rule 5-702—the Court of Appeals has clarified Maryland law on expert testimony. In Friday’s landmark Rochkind v. Stevenson opinion (its final of the Term), the Court formally adopted the Daubert standard as controlling Maryland law.[1] In doing so, it retired the superfluous Frye-Reed test, which had not only become riddled with exceptions but also evolved into the same “analytical gap” test that courts use when applying Rule 5-702 to expert testimony.

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Virtual Event: Appellate Practice, Sept. 14

Michael Wein, a founding member of the blog, has organized a terrific virtual event for Monday, September 14, from 5:30 to 6:45. Please click here to register.

Description

The Litigation Section and its Appellate Practice Committee is co-sponsoring with the Prince George’s County Bar Association a virtual Appellate Practice program. This program will include a discussion of new appellate rules, final judgements for appeals, issue recognition and drafting questions presented.

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Breaking news: Maryland adopts Daubert test for expert testimony

Today, in Rochkind v. Stevenson, the Maryland Court of Appeals adopted the Daubert test for the admissibility of expert testimony.

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Maryland Certiorari Statistics, 2019 Term

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

For three years now, I’ve tracked the Court of Appeals’ petition docket. The judiciary’s annual statistical reports give the overall grant rate for civil and criminal certiorari petitions. Because the majority of petitions each year are filed pro se, however, the overall statistics are not terribly helpful for lawyers in advising their clients regarding the odds of certiorari.

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August 2020 Maryland Certiorari Grants, Part 2

Today the Court of Appeals posted one additional certiorari grant, outside its typical schedule for deciding petitions.

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August 2020 Maryland Certiorari Grants

Today the Maryland Court of Appeals granted certiorari in two criminal cases and one civil case. Read More…

The Shots Heard Round Richmond

By Megan E. Coleman

Richmond, Virginia. Formerly, the home of the largest slave-trading center in the Upper South and the capital of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Currently, the site of protests against police brutality and racial injustice, with activists removing or refacing Confederate monuments. The Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently said: “As a country, we are in a moment of reckoning.” See United States v. Curry, No. 18-4233 (Decided: July 15, 2020, Amended: July 16, 2020) (Gregory, C.J., concurring at 38).

United States v. Curry is a case stemming from the suspicionless stop of a pedestrian by the Richmond Police Department less than one minute after multiple gunshots were fired in a high crime area of Richmond. It is a fascinating opinion for a myriad of reasons. Read More…

MSBA Supreme Court panel will be online on July 27

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

A highlight of the year for the MSBA Appellate Practice Committee is the annual Supreme Court Term in Review panel in Ocean City. Although COVID canceled this year’s MSBA Legal Summit, I’m pleased to report that the panel will be moving online. The registration link is here.

We have a terrific all-#AppellateTwitter lineup, with Jaime Santos (@Jaime_ASantos), partner with Goodwin’s Appellate Litigation practice, and co-host of the Strict Scrutiny podcast (@StrictScrutiny_); Lindsay Harrison (@LinzCHarrison), partner with Jenner & Block’s Appellate & Supreme Court group; and Amir Ali (@theamirali), Deputy Director of the Supreme Court and Appellate Program at the MacArthur Justice Center, and director of the Criminal Justice Appellate Clinic at Harvard Law School.

The event will be Monday, July 27, at 10:00 a.m. CLE credit is available, and the event is $29 for MSBA members and $59 for non-MSBA members

 

July 2020 Maryland Certiorari Grants

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals granted seven certiorari petitions. I’ll be counting three of those petitions as one because they were on petitions filed by the State from the same Court of Special Appeals opinion, with all three petitions presenting the same questions relating to jury nullification.

The cases have been scheduled for argument during the Court’s December 2020 sitting.

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Court of Special Appeals expands the boundaries of the tort of wrongful termination

By Brad McCullough

In a case of first impression in Maryland, the Court of Special Appeals went where California’s courts have refused to go, holding “that the tort of wrongful termination may lie when an employer decides to terminate an employment relationship by declining to renew an employment agreement for which the parties anticipated the reasonable possibility of renewal.” Miller-Phoenix v. Balt. City Bd. of Sch. Comm’rs, CSA-REG-209-2019, 2020 WL 2781833, at *3 (May 29, 2020). Building on the Court of Appeals’ decisions in Adler v. Am. Standard Corp., 291 Md. 31 (1981) and Ewing v. Koppers Co., 312 Md. 45 (1988), the Court of Special Appeals gave Maryland employers the following message. If an employer allows an employment relationship to terminate—and the employer’s motivation for that termination contravenes some clear mandate of public policy—the terminated employee may have a claim for wrongful termination. Read More…