Recent Articles from All Practice Groups

Published Fourth Circuit Opinion On Maryland Credit Law Relies On Unpublished Opinion

In a published opinion that relied upon the reasoning of a previous unpublished opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held in Gardner v. GMAC that the Maryland Credit Grantor Closed End Credit Provisions, Md. Code Ann., Com. Law sec. 12-1001, et seq., require borrowers to have repaid more than the original principal amount of their loans... Read More >

Conservation Lawsuit Revived—Whether Act Is Inconsistent With Another Law Does Not Deprive Court Of Jurisdiction

The Fourth Circuit again reversed dismissals under Rule 12(b) in Goldfarb v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, in a case regarding contamination claims brought under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 USC sec. 6901, et seq. The City of Baltimore gave a parcel of land near the Patapsco River, formerly used for... Read More >

Mortgage Company’s Indemnification Claim Against Loan Officer Not Discharged In Bankruptcy

When Fidelity First Home Mortgage Company was found liable by a jury under the doctrine of respondeat superior when one of its loan officers engaged in a fraudulent foreclosure rescue scheme, it sued the loan officer seeking indemnification and contribution. The loan officer claimed that Fidelity’s claims were discharged... Read More >

U.S. Supreme Court: Same-Sex Marriage Is a Right

[caption id="attachment_315" align="alignright" width="150"] Photo Credit: US Rep. Mark Pocan Twitter[/caption] Coincidentally timed on the anniversary of the decisions in Lawrence v. Texas and U.S. v. Windsor, two prior gay-rights cases, Justice Kennedy announced the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the five-person majority held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all... Read More >

Maryland Court of Appeals: Breeding v. Koste

The Maryland Court of Appeals held in Breeding v. Koste that the “woodlands exception” applied in cases involving prescriptive easements also applies to adverse possession where the land at issue is unimproved or otherwise in a general state of nature. The exception holds that in such circumstances, there is a legal presumption that the claimant’s use is by... Read More >

SCOTUS: 2nd mortgages on ‘underwater’ homes cannot be voided in Chapter 7 bankruptcy

In Bank of America v. Caulkett, the Court declined to allow a Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtor to “strip down” a mortgage lien that is junior to liens that claim all of the equity in a home, thus allowing those “underwater” liens to survive a discharge. Caulkett owned a house where the senior mortgage lien was greater than his... Read More >

MD Court of Special Appeals: Greentree Series V, Inc. v. Hofmeister

In a matter of first impression, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals held in Greentree Series V, Inc. v. Hofmeister that the word “or” in Md. Rule 14-305(g) was to be read literally to give a trial court an either/or option, thus precluding the trial court from granting both options in relief. The Rule in question states that when a... Read More >

DC: Emergency Legislation on April 14– Pop-ups

[caption id="attachment_248" align="alignright" width="150"] Photo Credit: Stop The Pop DC[/caption] Pop-ups (upper-level expansions of DC row houses) have recently become the topic of discussions, particularly in light of some fairly ugly or disproportionate examples. The DC Council will hear emergency legislation absolutely and immediately banning pop-ups until... Read More >

DC Economic Interest Purchase Money-Recordation Tax

DC Expands Exemptions for Recordation Tax on D/T’s Association with Deeds of Economic Interest While it has long been the practice and law that deeds of trust filed simultaneously with the acquisition of real estate are exempt from recordation tax, the exemption was limited to interests in real estate. Since a Deed... Read More >

VA Supreme Court: Shevlin Smith v. McLaughlin

The opinion in Shevlin Smith v. McLaughlin provides a veritable cornucopia of rulings—15 assignments of error were considered!—that touch on important areas of legal malpractice and civil litigation that all practitioners should review. The case concerns a legal malpractice case by McLaughlin against his former firm of Shevlin Smith,... Read More >

DC: Home Seller is not a merchant under CPPA; Buyer’s Claim of Withholding Information fails – no detrimental

In Sundberg v. TTR Realty, Buyers entered into a contract to purchase a home and alleged that, after the contract was signed, but before closing,  the Seller and his real estate agent and brokerage withheld information and provided false information about construction that was to occur across the street. Buyers further allege... Read More >

DC: Defect in notice of foreclosure did not create substantial risk of misleading record owner

 In Dennis T. Comer v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, No. 13-CV-1025 (D.C. Jan. 29, 2015), the D.C. Court of Appeals was called upon to review whether the trial court had properly dismissed counts of an amended complaint in connection with a wrongful disclosure In 2008, Mr. Comer was approved for... Read More >

DC: Filing a lis pendens may expose filer to claim if the underlying lawsuit was filed in bad faith

In Havilah Real Property Services, LLC v. VLK, LLC, et al., the D.C Court of Appeals recently addressed the merits of litigation and the privilege associated with the recordation of lis pendens in a lengthy dispute between Havilah and VLK that was directly related to a personal dispute between... Read More >

How the ‘Drummer Boy’ Decision May Affect Us Locally

The D.C. Court of Appeals recently ruled that the super-priority status given to six months’ worth of condominium liens under D.C. Code sec. 42-1903.13 can wipe out all other liens on the condo   unit, including a first-position mortgage, but that Court has not yet determined whether the six months... Read More >