Maryland Court of Appeals continues its cautious approach to finding implied private causes of action
On May 20, 2016, in Fangman v. Genuine Title, LLC, a case certified from federal court, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that Md. Code Ann., Real Prop. (“RP”) § 14-127 – which generally prohibits kickbacks and similar arrangements with respect to real-estate settlement business – does not create a private cause of action. Judge Watts wrote the opinion for the unanimous Court, which continued a winning streak in the Court of Appeals for defendants arguing against recognizing implied private rights of action.
By Michael Wein
In my January 19 post about the online Court of Special Appeals documents for the prosecution of the officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death, I indicated that, as an inherently “cert-worthy” case, it would not be surprising if one of the parties sought certiorari and it ended up in the Court of Appeals. On Wednesday, that happened, as the Attorney General’s Office sought, in multiple filings (as seen on the Court of Appeal’s “Highlighted Cases” page), expedited review and a ruling that would apply in the prosecutions of the other five officers as to whether the Supreme Court’s opinion in Kastigar v. United States and Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 9-123 allow or prevent the admission of fellow officer William Porter’s previous testimony from his mistrial given that he will be tried again. Also at issue is the authority of the trial judge to refuse to stay three of the officers’ cases after making a pretrial evidentiary ruling relying on the State’s representation that Officer Porter’s testimony was not necessary.
Yesterday’s excellent guest post by Derek Stikeleather managed to set a new record for daily traffic on the Maryland Appellate Blog. Many thanks to Derek (and to Howard Bashman for picking up the post at How Appealing). I’d like to briefly add a small point on CTS Corp. v. Waldburger.
I’ve seen news reports of efforts in the North Carolina Legislature to pass a bill, applying to all pending litigation, declaring that the state’s statute of repose was never intended to apply to tort cases involving contaminated groundwater. [Update: Beth Scherer at the North Carolina Appellate Practice Blog reports that both houses unanimously approved the legislation.] A Marylander might ask why the Fourth Circuit does not simply certify that question to the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Read More…
With no fanfare, the Court of Appeals of Maryland has ended an internal practice that was unusual among state high courts. At the May meeting of the MSBA Litigation Section Council, Court of Appeals Judge (and Section Chair) Glenn Harrell informed the council that the Court of Appeals has, effective immediately, disbanded its Bypass Committee.
Today, in Antonio v. SSA Sec. Inc., — F.3d — (4th Cir. 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit certified the following question to the Court of Appeals of Maryland:
Does the Maryland Security Guards Act, Md. Code Ann., Bus. Occ. & Prof. § 19-501, impose liability beyond common law principles of respondeat superior such that an employer may be responsible for off-duty criminal acts of an employee if the employee planned any part of the off-duty criminal acts while he or she was on duty?
The factual and legal background appears in the Fourth Circuit’s decision, available here. The Court of Appeals presumably will calendar the case for argument during the September 2014 Term.
By Michael Wein
Certified questions are an irregular part of Court of Appeals practice (averaging about 3-5 per year), usually from a Maryland Federal District Court judge or a Fourth Circuit panel asking the Maryland Court of Appeals to opine on an unsettled (but dispositive) issue of Maryland law. Theoretically any jurisdiction, state or federal, in the United States could certify a question for the Court of Appeals to decide under the Maryland Uniform Certification of Questions of Law Act, found at sections 12-601 to 12-613 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article. Before the recent web revamp about three months ago, unless you were a litigant in the case, it was difficult to know just from checking the judiciary web site, what, if any, certified questions were being considered in the Court of Appeals. Usually the first notice was when the case appeared on the online oral argument schedule. Read More…