Articles Posted in Maryland Legal News

In a recent unreported opinion by the Maryland Appellate Court, the case of Sarpong v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company (Case No. CAL21-09252), the court, presided over by Judges Reed, Ripken, and Salmon, upheld a previous decision by the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County.

This decision confirmed the Maryland Insurance Administration’s (MIA) ruling that supported Nationwide’s denial of Mr. Sarpong’s insurance claim. The claim was filed following the loss of his personal property during an eviction.

MIA Appeals Process

A new unreported case caught my eye, Mock v. Patterson, that involved a topic near and dear to my heart: collecting baseball cards.  There are some interesting hearsay issues here in this conversation case that are worth looking at more closely.  The entire appeal focused on what the defendant claimed was hearsay that should not have come into evidence.

Facts of Mock v. Patterson

The defendant faced allegations of taking possession of a portion of a renowned baseball card collector’s collection. Following the collector’s passing, a complaint was filed by the individual serving as the executor of the collector’s estate. The complaint accused the defendant and another party of taking custody of the baseball cards and failing to return them. The central issue in this case revolved around whether the defendant had returned the cards before the collector’s demise.

The Trans Health Equity Act, also known as House Bill 283, was passed by the Maryland House of Delegates with a majority of 93-37 votes. This bill mandates the inclusion of gender-affirming treatment for transgender individuals in Maryland’s Medicaid program.

The next step was for the measure to be considered by the Maryland Senate. Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County), who introduced HB 283, expressed pride in the decision, calling it a significant step forward for transgender healthcare in the state. The bill passed.

So starting January 1, 2024, Maryland’s Trans Health Equity Act will become effective, making gender-affirming care more accessible to the state’s estimated 94,000 transgender and nonbinary residents. This law will expand Medicaid coverage to include more types of gender-affirming procedures.

This post was originally written in 2008.  So this post is a mismath of different information from 2008-2023

Let’s see where we are now with attorney salaries and, specifically, first-year starting salaries for new lawyers in the Baltimore area. Keep in mind so much of this is based on conjecture and rumor, so you have to take it all with a few ounces of salt.

May 2023 Statistics

The Maryland Appellate Court issued a new opinion on security deposits in a landlord-tenant situation  This post discusses Maryland security deposit law and this new case.

Maryland Security Deposit Law

Maryland security deposit law is a set of rules and regulations that govern the handling of security deposits by landlords in the state of Maryland. It sets out the conditions under which a landlord may collect a security deposit from a tenant, how the deposit must be handled and maintained, and the conditions under which the deposit may be returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy. This law also sets out the maximum amount that a landlord may charge for a security deposit, which is typically one or two months’ rent.

Maryland’s state legislature is called the Maryland General Assembly. The General Assembly has an upper and lower house (just like the U.S. Congress and Senate) and members are elected to 4-year terms. The General Assembly meets annually for 3-month sessions at the begging of each calendar year (January to April). Any new laws that get passed in this session at the start of the year go into effect on the 1st of October. So, each year at the start of October Marylanders have to adjust to new laws and 2020 is no exception. Below, I summarize some more significant new Maryland laws that took effect on October 1st

Discrimination Based on Certain Race-Associated Hairstyles is Prohibited

Maryland law already prohibits racial discrimination in employment, housing, and other public services. Now a new amendment to this law will extend that prohibition against discrimination based on certain hairstyles that are commonly associated with African Americans. Hairstyles, specifically hair texture and afro hairstyles, are now included in the state’s definition of “race” for purposes of discrimination. This is one of the very first state laws of this type in the entire country. The law applies to all Maryland employers with 15 or more employees.

In Mayor of Baltimore City v. Prime Realty Assocs., L.L.C., the Court of Appeals of Maryland addressed the constitutional issue of notice and the opportunity to be heard.

Let me give you a quick summary and then we will dive deeper into it. The court addressed notice as it pertains to whether or not the method of substituted service upon the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) prescribed by Maryland Rule 3-124(o) satisfies a litigant’s due process rights. The court held that Prime Realty’s failure to update its resident agent’s address with the SDAT didn’t invalidate the City’s attempts of service or the City’s use of substituted service upon the SDAT, as prescribed in Rule 3-124(o).

Accordingly, the court found that Maryland Rule 3- 124(o) provides due process of law, and the circuit court erred in invalidating the order ratifying the sale of Prime Realty’s vacant building.

Sometimes, I think we should be harder on lawyers who have bad intent. But this is a little over the top for me.

In Attorney Grievance Commission v. Kepple, a lawyer was given an indefinite suspension of at least 30 days because 13 years ago she hid her real state of residence so she could get in-state tuition. Basically, she pretended she lived in West Virginia to get in-state tuition.

How did she get caught? Her spiteful ex-husband ratted her out. Lawyers who lie and steal from their clients need to be punished, probably more than they are now in Maryland. But this was a long time ago, she actually had good contacts with West Virginia because she worked there for a time… I just think this is a little over the top. You can find the court’s opinion here.

Four new Maryland appellate opinions today. None relate to personal injury claims, but I glanced at all four and figured I would make a blog post out of it.

  • Attorney Grievance Commission v. Butler: A 60-day suspension is in order if a lawyer shows up for trial without a good reason and without adequate communication with his client. In this case, the client got hit with a default judgment. To make matters worse, the lawyer did not tell the client, “Hey, you have a potential, ah, legal malpractice claim against me.” Judges Harrell and Battaglia argued in the dissent that the suspension should be longer. I’m inclined to agree with the dissent.
  • McNeil v. State: This was actually the subject of my moot court project during my first year of law school. I even remember my fictionial client’s name: Darryl Dare. Anyway, the question is whether jury verdicts in a criminal case can be factually inconsistent or illogical. The answer: they can. Juries don’t have to make sense because the verdict may be a compromise, but judges do. This has always been the law of Maryland, but the Court of Appeals muddied the waters a little bit four years ago in Price v. State.