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In this case alleging injuries and damages caused by lead paint exposure at a residential property the Court of Appeals clarified the issue of when epidemiological studies relied upon by an expert provide a sufficient factual basis for the expert’s testimony. Respondent sued Appellants alleging that lead exposure at a residence owned by Appellants caused him injury and that he sustained damages as a result. The jury returned a verdict for Respondent. On appeal, Appellants argued that Dr. Jacalyn Blackwell-White, who was accepted as an expert in the fields of pediatrics and childhood lead poisoning, did not have a sufficient factual basis for her opinions regarding causation. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) Dr. Blackwell-White’s causation opinion had a sufficient factual basis to establish a causal relationship between lead exposure and cognitive defects identified in Respondent and his IQ loss; and (2) there was sufficient evidence for the trial court to submit the case to the jury on the issue of whether Respondent’s lead exposure resulted in damages. View "Sugarman v. Liles" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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In this challenge to the 2018 primary election ballot, the Court of Appeals held that the State Board of Elections was required to apply the deadlines set forth in the state election law and follow the directives of the Election Law Article concerning the content of a primary election ballot. Oaks, a state legislator, filed a timely certificate of candidacy for the 2018 primary election. Oaks subsequently pled guilty to two felonies in federal court. Appellees filed this suit against the State Administrator of Elections to have Oaks’ name removed from the ballot. Arguing that Oaks' potential prison sentence would render him disqualified before the general election, Appellees filed a motion for an injunction to compel the State Board to remove Oaks’ name from the ballot. Oaks then gave up his voter registration, and the circuit court issued the requested injunction, an action that was contrary to the Election Law Article. The Court of Appeals vacated the circuit court’s preliminary injunction, holding (1) the State Board was required to apply the deadlines set forth in the state election law and follow the statutory directives in composing the 2018 primary election ballot; and (2) those directives were constitutional as applied to retain Oaks’ name on the primary election ballot. View "Lamone v. Lewin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgments of the circuit court and Court of Special Appeals that there were no errors of procedure or substantive law on the part of Respondents - the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (Hospital) and the Maryland Department of Health - and the administrative law judge (ALJ) in determining that Petitioner met the requirements for involuntary admission to the psychiatric unit of the Hospital. The Court held (1) the ALJ did not err in finding that Petitioner’s hearing on involuntary admission complied with the ten-day deadline for an involuntary admission hearing set forth in Md. Code Ann. Health-Gen. 10-632(b); and (2) there was substantial support in the record for the ALJ’s finding that Petitioner presented a danger to the life or safety of herself or of others at the time of the hearing. View "In re J.C.N." on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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At issue was whether Petitioner’s request for the release of notes containing possible personnel information relating to her performance as an employee of the Montgomery County Attorney’s office were subject to disclosure under the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA). Montgomery County (Respondent) withheld the subject notes when responding to Petitioner’s MPIA request, claiming that the notes were privileged, non-public information. Petitioner then filed a complaint in the circuit court alleging that Respondent violated the MPIA and requesting an order requiring the disclosure of the documents. The circuit court granted Respondent’s motion to dismiss, concluding that an in camera review was not required because the notes were not considered personnel records pursuant to the Montgomery County personnel regulations. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals and remanded the case to the circuit court for further proceedings, holding (1) the trial court reviewing the denial of an MPIA request must be satisfied that the rationale offered by the agency supports the denial of the request; and (2) the trial court in this case did not sufficiently review the denial of Petitioner’s MPIA request. View "Lamson v. Montgomery County, Md." on Justia Law

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At issue was whether a circuit court’s exercise of its coercive powers to incarcerate a drug court program participant is subject to appellate review and can violate a participant’s right to due process. Respondents in the two underlying cases participated in the circuit court’s drug court program as a special condition of probation. Each respondent violated the program conditions, and the circuit court imposed immediate sanctions. The Court of Special Appeals concluded that Respondents had the right to seek appellate review of the incarceration sanction and held that the circuit court’s procedure did not comply with due process requirements. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) a participant in a drug court program seeking to appeal from the circuit court’s imposition of sanctions may do so by filing an application for leave to appeal pursuant to Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Judgment. Proc. 12-302(g); (2) when a circuit court administering a drug court program considers imposing a sanction involving the loss of liberty or termination from the program, it must provide minimum due process protections; and (3) the process followed by the circuit court in imposing sanctions violated constitutional due process guarantees. View "State v. Brookman" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether a court may vacate an arbitrator’s decision for manifest disregard of applicable law even though such a ground is not listed in Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc. 3-224(b). Petitioners sought to vacate the arbitration award in this case, arguing that the arbitrator manifestly disregarded well-established Maryland law. The circuit court dismissed the petition but denied Respondents’ request for attorney’s fees. The court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the arbitrator’s award did not demonstrate manifest disregard of applicable law and that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to award attorney’s fees. Specifically, the Court held (1) the General Assembly did not preempt the common-law ground of manifest disregard of the law when it enacted the Maryland Uniform Arbitration Act; (2) because the arbitrator did not make a palpable mistake of law or fact appearing on the face of the award, the lower courts correctly concluded that the arbitrator’s award did not demonstrate a manifest disregard; and (3) the circuit court did not err in declining to award attorney’s fees to Respondent. View "WSC/2005 LLC v. Trio Ventures Associates" on Justia Law

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In this breach of contract case stemming from the failure to pay for labor and materials provided by a construction subcontractor (Petitioner) to a general contractor through six construction contracts, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgments of the circuit court and the court of special appeals in favor of Respondents. The Court of Appeals held (1) where there has been an invocation of the Maryland Construction Trust Statute, there must be a showing that the statute applies to the contracts in dispute; (2) Md. Code Real Prop. 9-204(a) contains a requirement that the contracts be subject to the Maryland Little Miller Act or the Maryland Mechanics’ Lien Statute; and (3) Petitioner failed to demonstrate that the protections afforded by the Maryland Construction Trust Statute were applicable. View "C&B Construction, Inc. v. Dashiell" on Justia Law

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When assessing whether exceptional circumstances exist that make continuing the parental relationship detrimental to a child’s best interests, a juvenile court errs by considering custody-specific factors used to determine exceptional circumstances in third-party custody disputes. The Baltimore City Department of Social Services filed a petition for guardianship with the right to consent to adoption or long term care short adoption for Child. The juvenile court analyzed, among other things, the statutory factors set forth in Md. Code Ann. Fam. Law 5-323(d) to determine whether exceptional circumstances existed that made continuing the parental relationship detrimental to Chile’s best interests. The juvenile court concluded that there was not clear and convincing evidence that Father was unfit. The Court of Special Appeals vacated the juvenile court’s decision, concluding that the juvenile court by using four factors related exclusively to custody of the child in deciding to terminate Father’s parental rights. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) factors pertaining exclusively to custody have no place in termination of parental rights assessments under section 5-323; but (2) the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when, based on an appropriate statutory analysis, it terminated Father’s parental rights. View "In re Adoption/Guardianship of H.W." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the post-conviction court’s denial of Appellant’s post-conviction motion for DNA testing under Md. Code Crim. Proc. 8-201, holding that the post-conviction court did not err when it concluded that there was no reasonable probability that DNA testing could produce exculpatory or mitigating evidence. After a fifth trial, Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. Appellant subsequently filed a pro se petition for post-conviction DNA testing under section 8-201. The circuit court denied the petition, concluding that there was no reasonable probability that the testing could produce exculpatory or mitigating evidence. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in denying Appellant’s petition for post-conviction DNA testing. View "Givens v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The process of involuntary admission of an individual begins with the initiation application for involuntary admission and ends upon a hearing officer’s decision whether to admit or release that individual. If, during the process, a physician applies the statutory criteria for involuntary admission and concludes, in good faith, that the individual no longer meets those criteria, the facility must release the individual. The physician’s decision is immune from civil liability and cannot be the basis of a jury verdict for medical malpractice. Brandon Mackey was taken to Bon Secours Hospital pursuant to an application for involuntary admission after he attempted to commit suicide. Dr. Leroy Bell treated Mackey. Two days before a scheduled hearing to determine whether Mackey should be admitted involuntarily or released, Dr. Bell authorized Mackey’s release. Thereafter, Mackey committed suicide. Plaintiff brought suit contending that Dr. Bell, and Bon Secours vicariously as his employer, were negligent in releasing Mackey. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Chance. The circuit court vacated the judgment based in part on its understanding of the immunity statute. The court of special appeals reversed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Dr. Bell’s decision to discharge Mackey, made in good faith and with reasonable grounds, was immune from liability. View "Bell v. Chance" on Justia Law