Articles Posted in Maryland Court of Appeals

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In this workers’ compensation case, the Court of Appeals clarified an exception to the "going and coming rule" - the special mission or errand doctrine. Employee, who was employed by Montgomery County, was injured in a car accident while driving from her home to a mandatory work training on a Saturday, which was normally her day off. The Workers’ Compensation Commission awarded compensation, finding that Employee’s injury arose out of and in the course of employment. The County sought judicial review, arguing that the going and coming rule prohibited recovery because accidental injuries sustained while going to or coming from work do not ordinarily arise out of and in the course of employment, and none of the exceptions to the rule applied. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the County. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) the going and coming rule, rather than the traveling employee doctrine, controlled Plaintiff’s case; but (2) the undisputed facts permitted a reasonable conclusion that the special mission exception to the going and coming rule applied in this case. View "Calvo v. Montgomery County, Maryland" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment of the circuit court affirming the finding of the administrative law judge (ALJ) that Respondent was coerced into submitting to an alcohol breath test required by Md. Code Ann. Transp. 16-205.1. In affirming, the circuit court concluded that substantial evidence supported the ALJ’s decision that Respondent did not voluntarily submit to the testing. The ALJ found, specifically, that the due process afforded to Respondent was insufficient and that the officer’s actions impermissibly induced Respondent to submit to an alcohol breath test. The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the ALJ’s determination was erroneous because Respondent failed to establish that there was an insufficient advisement of rights in violation of her due process protections. View "Motor Vehicle Administration v. Smith" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case were the Dabbs Class’s claims demanding refunds of impact fees collected by Anne Arundel County between fiscal years 1997-2003. Anne Arundel County imposed road and school impact fees according to County districts beginning in 1987. Those who paid impact fees might become eligible for refunds of those fees under certain circumstances. The Dabbs Class sought refunds on the ground that the impact fees at issue were not expended or encumbered in a timely manner under section 17-11-210(b) of the Anne Arundel County Code and that the amendments to the Impact Fee Ordinance in Bill No. 27-07 and Bill No. 71-08, which codified the County’s procedures for calculating capital expenditures and encumbrances and removed prospectively the refund provision provided in section 17-11-210, unconstitutionally interfered with their vested rights in refunds. The circuit court entered a declaratory judgment for the County. The intermediate appellate court affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the lower courts did not err in (1) concluding that the rough proportionality test/rational nexus test of Nollan v. California Coastal Comm’n, 483 U.S. 825 (1987), and Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U.S. 374 (1994), did not apply; and (2) permitting the retroactive application of the legislation and not finding an unconstitutional taking. View "Dabbs v. Anne Arundel County" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case were the Dabbs Class’s claims demanding refunds of impact fees collected by Anne Arundel County between fiscal years 1997-2003. Anne Arundel County imposed road and school impact fees according to County districts beginning in 1987. Those who paid impact fees might become eligible for refunds of those fees under certain circumstances. The Dabbs Class sought refunds on the ground that the impact fees at issue were not expended or encumbered in a timely manner under section 17-11-210(b) of the Anne Arundel County Code and that the amendments to the Impact Fee Ordinance in Bill No. 27-07 and Bill No. 71-08, which codified the County’s procedures for calculating capital expenditures and encumbrances and removed prospectively the refund provision provided in section 17-11-210, unconstitutionally interfered with their vested rights in refunds. The circuit court entered a declaratory judgment for the County. The intermediate appellate court affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the lower courts did not err in (1) concluding that the rough proportionality test/rational nexus test of Nollan v. California Coastal Comm’n, 483 U.S. 825 (1987), and Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U.S. 374 (1994), did not apply; and (2) permitting the retroactive application of the legislation and not finding an unconstitutional taking. View "Dabbs v. Anne Arundel County" on Justia Law

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Although the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities violated applicable Maryland Rules in proceedings against Judge Pamela J. White, the violations did not ultimately deprive Judge White of a fundamentally fair proceeding. In 2015, the Commission concluded that probable cause existed to believe that Judge White had committee sanctionable conduct and filed public charges against Judge White. The Commission later publicly reprimanded Judge White by unanimous vote, concluding that Judge White violated the Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct. On appeal, Judge White alleged that the Commission denied her procedural due process. The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that although the proceeding before the Commission contained several mistakes, Judge White received the fundamental due process protections under the Maryland Constitution and the Maryland Rules. View "In re Honorable Pamela J. White" on Justia Law

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Petitioners, thirteen operators of charter schools in Baltimore County, filed breach of contract complaints against the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners directly in the circuit court without first seeking review before the State Board of Education. Petitioners argued that the City Board breached contractual requirements by not providing information as to its commensurate funding calculations and by failing to provide the correct amount of commensurate funding for the 2015-16 school year. The circuit judge stayed proceedings in the circuit court pending the State Board’s administrative review of the parties’ dispute. The court of special appeals dismissed Petitioners' appeal, concluding that the stay order was not an appealable order. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) under the unique circumstances of this case, the stay order was a final and appealable judgment; (2) the circuit court abused its discretion in staying the proceeding in order for the parties to seek administrative review before first allowing for discovery; and (3) the State Board retained primary jurisdiction as to the underlying commensurate funding issues in dispute, and after discovery before the circuit court is concluded, it will be appropriate for the circuit court to enter a more definite order staying proceedings for review of those issues before the State Board. View "Monarch Academy Baltimore Campus, Inc. v. Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners" on Justia Law

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A criminal defendant who is not competent to stand trial may not be continued in pretrial detention unless the government takes steps to provide treatment to restore the defendant to competency or to have the defendant civilly committed. Maryland law allows a court to determine whether a defendant is competent; if a defendant is incompetent with the potential to be restored to competency, the court may commit the defendant for appropriate treatment, Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure Article 3-104. The state Department of Health (MDH) adopted a policy on admission to state psychiatric hospitals to manage the demand for the limited beds available. That policy has resulted in a waiting list for admission, which has included criminal defendants who have been found incompetent and committed for treatment. The Circuit Court for Baltimore City adopted a practice of requiring admission of a defendant to a hospital within one day of the issuance of the commitment order. When MDH failed to comply, defendants challenged the MDH policy. The Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal, noting that the statute does not set a deadline for admission, nor does it authorize a court to do so; a delay in admission does not violate the statute, although it may violate the commitment order. Depending on the circumstances, a delay may violate the state due process guarantee. View "Powell v. Maryland Department of Health" on Justia Law

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Hosford, severely disabled and wheelchair-bound, has muscle spasms and pain.Since 1989, Hosford has resided at Foghorn's Baltimore CIty Ruscombe Gardens Apartments, subsidized through a federal “Section 8” project-based program. Hosford signed a “Drug-Free Housing Policy” with his lease. In 2014, the complex had a bed bug infestation. An extermination company entered Hosford’s unit and saw a marijuana plant growing in his bathtub. They reported this to the management office. A responding police officer concluded the plant was marijuana, confiscated it, and issued a criminal citation. A police chemist concluded that the plant was marijuana. A nolle prosequi was entered on the possession charge. Foghorn gave Hosford a notice of lease termination. When he did not vacate, Foghorn initiated an eviction. The Court of Appeals held that Maryland Code, Real Property 8-402.1(b)(1), which provides that a court ruling on a landlord-tenant dispute must conclude that a breach of a lease is “substantial and warrants an eviction” before granting judgment for possession of the leased premises, is not preempted by federal regulations mandating that subsidized Section 8 project-based housing developments include lease provisions that engaging in any drug-related criminal activity on or near the leased premises is grounds for termination of the lease. View "Chateau Foghorn, LP v. Hosford" on Justia Law

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Alternative Medicine Maryland, LLC (AMM) sued the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission, its members, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene after AMM applied for, but did not receive, pre-approval for a medical cannabis grower license. AMM sought a declaratory judgment and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, arguing that the Commission failed to follow applicable law with respect to the requirement to consider racial and ethnic diversity of potential medical cannabis grower licensees and requested that the Commission be required to reconnect the pre-approval process. Relevant to this appeal, the circuit court denied a motion to intervene filed by medical cannabis growers that had received pre-approvals for medical cannabis grower licenses, a coalition and trade association that advocate for the use of medical cannabis, and patients who would potentially receive medical cannabis as treatment for illnesses. The Supreme Court held (1) the growers were entitled to intervention as of right and permissive intervention; but (2) the circuit court did not err in denying intervention as of right or permissive intervention as to the patients and the trade association petitioners. View "Doe v. Alternative Medicine Maryland, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the finding of the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) that Employer and Insurer (collectively, Respondents) were entitled to offset the ordinary disability benefits already paid to Petitioner against the temporary total disability benefits paid to him by Respondents. Petitioner suffered injuries primarily to his back and neck while working for Employer. Employer received two different sets of disability benefits from Employer and Insurer, each awarded by a different state agency. Specifically, Petitioner was granted temporary total disability benefits by the WCC and ordinary disability benefits by the State Retirement Agency. The WCC found that Respondents were entitled to a credit for the ordinary disability benefits already paid to Petitioner. On judicial review, the circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the WCC. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that because both sets of benefits compensated Petitioner for the same injury, pursuant to Md. Code Ann. Lab. & Empl. 9-610, the statutory offset properly applied to prevent a double recovery for the same injury. View "Reger v. Washington County Board of Education" on Justia Law