Articles Posted in Maryland Legal News

The Maryland State Law Library is conducting a 12-question survey on access to legal information and law libraries. The survey is designed to advance the Study Committee’s goals: 1) assessment of the court library system regarding the needs of its users; 2) exploration of ways to enhance statewide access to legal information; and 3) discussion of strategies for ensuring the fiscal sustainability of court libraries.

The Study Committee hopes to provide recommendations in a report to be issued later in 2012. If you wish to know more about this initiative, you can provide your contact information in the box at the end of the survey.

You can take the survey here.

The latest U.S. News and World Report has the University of Baltimore ranked #113. Last year, UB was #117. Improvement is good, sure. Still, I wonder if the Dean Closius debacle hurt the school’s ranking.

These U.S. News and World Report rankings are so silly. And, geez, does U.S. News have much relevance anymore beyond those rankings? I subscribe to just about every world news magazine except U.S. News and World Report.

Yet they mean everything. Dean Closius brought UB into the 21st century, by pulling a “don’t hate the player, hate the game” and doing what every other smart dean in the country was doing: gaming the system. It did not push UB ahead of where it should be; it allowed the school to catch back up to where it belonged. Because, did I say this yet, EVERYONE is gaming the system. UB suffered for years from a lack of gaming the system because everyone else was doing it.

The Maryland Court of Appeals has changed its mind and decided not to review the Maryland Court of Special Appeals opinion in Erie v. Reeside. The CSA opinion contains some interesting points of law on the enforcement of settlement agreements. Basically, Erie tried unsuccessfully to enforce a contingent settlement agreement.

I look at Maryland appellate opinions every week, looking for new Maryland personal injury cases. Nothing interesting in PI, but here are some other cases I stumbled across in a search for something related to my practice. If I get a lot of traffic for this, I’ll keep doing it. Otherwise, I won’t.

  • Charles County, I know you didn’t mean it. Still, even in zoning, due process is due process, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals says. (Is there a lot of pent up demand for a firing range and a driving track in Charles County?)
  • Anonymous lawyer, you begin practicing law.

Slated to be the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) President for the 2013-2014 term, Michael J. Baxter of Baltimore’s Baxter, Baker, Sidle, Conn & Jones has been named President-Elect nominee.

First having joined the bar in 1980, Michael J. Baxter is a trial attorney who primarily defends doctors and hospitals in medical malpractice cases. Over the past decade, Baxter has held many positions. He served on the Board of Governors from 2001 to 2003, chaired the Association Standing Committee on Laws from 2003 to 2009, and has been the MSBA Secretary since 2010.

It sounds as if he is looking forward to his term as President, stating that he knows he will get a lot out of it and that he intends to make sure the Association keeps doing the good things it does.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals is looking for six lawyers to fill the “at-will” attorney position.

Three thoughts:

  • I think it is funny that it says that the positions are “at will.” Most employees are at-will. I’m surprised they felt compelled to specify that. I’m sure it is a state government thing. But it is funny to me.

  • In case you missed the news before the New Year, two non-Maryland doctors have been charged with murder here under Maryland’s fetal homicide law. The two abortion doctors, one from New Jersey and the other from Utah, were charged in connection with a late-term abortion in Elkton that went awry. It looks like this is the first time the fetal homicide law has been used against a medical professional performing surgery; previously, it has been used in cases where a pregnant woman was attacked, causing the fetus to die.
  • The Court of Appeals will hear Nancy Forster’s argument that a Baltimore judge should not have dismissed the former public defender’s wrongful termination claim.
  • Curious which Maryland law stories were the most-read in 2011? Also, Baltimore Crime has a list of its top 10 local legal stories of the year.

According to the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland (AGC), disciplinary actions taken against Maryland attorneys are down this year (Fiscal Year [FY] – July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011), despite the fact that the AGC received slightly more complaints.

According to the AGC’s annual report, the overall number of inquiries rose for the second consecutive year, from 1,597 in FY 2010 to 1,800 in FY 2011, as did the number of docketed complaints filed against Maryland attorneys – increasing from 406 in 2010 to 429 in 2011. While this may sound discouraging, the 70 disciplinary actions that were taken this year was a decrease from the 76 that were taken in 2010 (FY). That’s encouraging, right? Even more encouraging, the number of disbarments fell from 15 in FY 2010 to 11 in 2011. Especially considering that the number of active attorneys increased from 34,506 last year to 35,515 this year.

The 76 reported disciplinary actions taken in FY 2011 are broken down as follows:

  • Under Armour sues Energy Armor, a company selling “negative ion bracelets” and other apparel, alleging copyright infringement. Really, negative ion bracelets? Who buys this stuff?
  • The 4th Circuit, long considered the most conservative circuit in the country, has definitely shifted to the left. This can’t be bad for those of us representing the injured.
  • A blind man says that after he and his guide dog were hit by a car, Baltimore paramedics wanted to leave the dog behind on the pavement and wouldn’t take the animal in the ambulance transporting the man to the hospital.