The Maryland Lawyer section of the Daily Record yesterday ranks Maryland’s appellate judges by the number of opinions they wrote in 2007. I love data. But this is one of those things that appears interesting at first glance, particularly with the Daily Record’s glossy – okay not glossy, but color – two page, the center of the paper layout. But once you start reading, it is really not interesting at all.
But I found the total number of opinions generated by these two courts to be of some interest. The Maryland Court of Appeals published 154 opinions in 2007; the Maryland Court of Special Appeals wrote 1,245 opinions, of which 153 were reported. The courts produced a similar number of opinions the year before. I wish I had a count of how many of those opinions were personal injury cases.
One more thing I found of interest: of the 24 opinions Chief Judge Robert M. Bell wrote for the court, six involved attorney grievance opinions. I realize these cases are important because the career of a lawyer hangs in the balance. But this means 25% of Maryland’s highest judge’s opinions involve attorney grievances that are of little consequence to the citizen of Maryland. This is the highest percentage of any Maryland Court of Appeals judge. I’d rather have Chief Judge Bell writing opinions that impact the lives of more Marylanders. (After I wrote this, I realized they probably did not include dissenting opinions. I think Chief Judge Bell has more than his fair share of those.)
In the middle of writing this blog post yesterday, I was handed a Court of Special Appeals opinion in which I lost. Four – count ‘em, four – Baltimore City Circuit Court judges agreed with me but the Court of Special Appeals is the only opinion that matters if the Court of Appeals does not grant certiorari. I just called opposing counsel to congratulate him, but he is just as depressed as I am about it because the court remanded the case down for further proceedings. Everyone, including the clients, was hoping one way or another this opinion would be the end to this case that was filed six years ago. Now we are just getting started again….