The Maryland Court of Appeals issued one additional certiorari grant on March 30, following last week’s monthly conference. The grant, with question presented, appears after the jump.
Court of Appeals to Review New Expert-Testimony Requirement for Medical Malpractice Defendants Asserting “Empty Chair” Defense
Although it is well-established Maryland law that a medical negligence plaintiff must support her claim with expert testimony, the Court of Special Appeals recently issued the first Maryland appellate decision to hold that defendants have the same obligation when asserting an “empty chair” defense. Reiss v. Am. Radiology Servs., LLC, 241 Md. App. 316 (2019). The well-established “empty chair” defense asserts that a non-party’s negligence caused the alleged injury.[i] Under Reiss, those asserting the defense now must elicit “expert testimony, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the non-party breached the standard of care.”[ii]
Although the rule announced in Reiss is relatively straightforward, the holding’s full implications remain unclear for litigants in medical negligence cases. The Court of Appeals may address these issues on February 6 at oral argument in Reiss. The court can resolve an important unanswered question: Can defendants elicit the testimony from a properly qualified plaintiff’s expert? The Court of Special Appeals’ reasoning in Reiss and existing Maryland law should allow it. Read More…
Happy holidays from the Maryland Appellate Blog! Yesterday, the Court of Appeals granted review in three criminal cases and five civil cases. One of the civil cases, MIA v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co., centers on uninsured motorist coverage and will be consolidated with a certified question raising the same issue. Read More…
Last week, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted review in three civil cases and two civil cases. Two of the civil cases are on petitions by Baltimore City Solicitor Andre Davis. The third is from a Court of Special Appeals opinion (criticized in a post by Alan Sternstein) that reversed a $45 million judgment against Harford County.
Last week, the Court of Appeals granted certiorari in four cases, including one bypass, to squarely address whether Maryland should adopt the Daubert standard for admitting expert testimony:
Jonathan Hemming v. State of Maryland – Case No. 48, September Term, 2019
Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Does a trial court have discretion under Md. Rule 4-253 to bifurcate separate counts between judge and jury in a single trial? 2) Did the trial court mistakenly believe that it had no authority under Rule 4-253 to bifurcate separate counts between judge and jury in a single trial and, as a result, fail to exercise its discretion under the rule? 3) Assuming, arguendo, that the trial court recognized and exercised its discretion, was the court’s refusal to bifurcate the counts charging possession of a regulated firearm by a disqualified person and possession of ammunition by a disqualified person from the remaining counts of the indictment an abuse of discretion under the circumstances of this case?