Court Decisions

In University of Maryland Medical System Corp. v. Sheldon, decided on September 19, 2013, Andy Baida convinced the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to uphold a $1.8 million jury verdict awarding damages for injuries his client sustained as a result of a hospital’s negligence in treating him after he fell from a roof and fractured an ankle. The appellate court rejected the hospital’s argument that the plaintiff failed to comply with the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act by failing to name an individual health care provider in his expert’s Certificate, stating that the identification of a particular physician health care provider can carry negative ramifications for the named physician, and that the parties agreed before the Certificate was filed that no individual health care providers would be named. Click here to read the opinion.

In Little v. Schneider, Maryland’s top court reversed an intermediate appellate court decision and reinstated a $2.8 million jury verdict in favor of Andy Baida’s client for injuries she suffered as a result of a vascular surgeon’s negligence during an attempted aortobifemoral bypass surgery. In overturning the decision of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which had previously set aside the verdict, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that the trial court properly admitted evidence establishing that the physician was not board-certified in vascular surgery after the physician placed his qualifications at issue by telling the jury about his credentials, experience, and achievements. The Court of Appeals also held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in prohibiting the physician from testifying about a CAT scan which allegedly bolstered his contention that he was not negligent, stating that the physician was a fact witness only, that he did not use the CAT scan in treating the patient and had no personal knowledge concerning its contents, and that he could testify only as to what he did and observed in the course of that treatment. Read more about the case in the front page August 26, 2013 Daily Record article entitled, "Jury’s $2.8M verdict revived," by clicking here.

Andy Baida and Stuart Cherry represented the prevailing party in an appeal in which the Maryland Court of Special Appeals dismissed a challenge to a trial court order requiring a hospital to disclose the names and addresses of hundreds of former patients who received letters from the hospital raising issues about coronary stents they had undergone. The Court of Special Appeals held that the trial court’s order was not appealable under the collateral order doctrine. The appellate court also held that it did not have jurisdiction to review the trial court’s order due to a change in circumstances which occurred since the hospital noted its appeal. Read more about the case in the front page July 23, 2013 Daily Record article entitled, "CSA splits wins in back-to-back stent cases," by clicking here.

In Wrightson v. Ashburn, decided on April 5, 2013, Andy Baida and Stuart Cherry successfully persuaded the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to overturn multiple verdicts returned by a jury based on claims arising out of a contract which the plaintiff alleged she had entered into with their clients. The total amount awarded the plaintiff at trial was $1,015,000. On appeal, the court reversed all judgments with the exception of a judgment for $315,000 against one of the clients based on a breach of contract claim, which the court vacated and remanded to the trial court for the entry of a judgment for $80,000.

Andy Baida and Stuart Cherry convinced the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to reinstate a jury verdict awarding $1,123,000 in damages for injuries sustained by their client as a result of the defendant health care providers’ negligence in treating the client and failing to prevent him from having a stroke. The appellate court held that the client’s expert’s detailed trial testimony concerning the defendants’ violations of the standard of care cured any perceived lack of detail in the expert’s pre-trial certificate and report. The court also held that there was sufficient evidence supporting the jury’s finding that but for the defendants’ negligence, the client’s stroke would have been prevented. Click here to read the opinion. Read more about the case in the front page March 28, 2013 Daily Record article entitled, "CSA restores stroke verdict," by clicking here.

Andy Baida successfully argued before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals that a board certified nephrologist was qualified under the Health Care Malpractice Claims Act to testify that a board certified urologist deviated from the standard of care in treating a fifteen-year-old patient when he went to a hospital emergency department complaining of blood in his urine. The trial court held that the nephrologist “was not qualified to say what a urologist was able to do” in these circumstances and entered judgment against the patient, who, following his emergency room discharge, ultimately suffered kidney failure caused by nephritis, which is an inflammation of the kidneys. In reversing the trial court’s decision and ordering the reinstatement of the patient’s medical malpractice claim against the urologist, the Court of Special Appeals held that nephrology and urology are “related” specialties under the Act when, as in this case, the particular procedure or treatment at issue is the preparation of a differential diagnosis from an emergency room consult involving a patient who presents with blood and protein in his urine.  Read more about the case in the March 7, 2013 Daily Record article entitled, "CSA revives suit over teen’s kidney failure," by clicking here.

Gerry Gaeng and Jim Crossan successfully represented several national financial services companies in a consolidated appeal of eighteen class-action and individual consumer lawsuits that was decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The cases were brought by borrowers who alleged that their second-mortgage loans were made in violation of Maryland’s Secondary Mortgage Loan Law (“SMLL”). Representing financial service companies who had purchased plaintiffs’ loans, Gaeng successfully argued in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland that the cases should be dismissed because there is no assignee derivative liability for SMLL violations committed by the original lenders.

When the dismissals were appealed, Gaeng again argued for defendants in the Fourth Circuit, which affirmed the dismissals and ruled that even if the borrowers could have stated claims for derivative liability against the loan purchasers under state or federal law, the claims would be barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. Click here to read the Opinion.

In DiCarlo v. Cohen & Greene, P.A., decided on March 19, 2012, Andy Baida persuaded the Court of Special Appeals to reverse a judgment against his client which awarded her former attorney compensation for services rendered in connection with a personal injury claim that the attorney agreed to handle on a contingency basis. Stating that the client had a good faith basis for being dissatisfied with the attorney and terminating their relationship, the appellate court held that the attorney’s right to compensation did not accrue unless there was a recovery on the client’s claim, and that no such accrual would occur because the client’s claim was dismissed after she discharged the attorney.

Andy Baida convinced the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to uphold a $3.6 million jury verdict in University of Maryland Medical System Corp. v. Gholston, decided on February 10, 2012, on the grounds that there was legally sufficient evidence to support the jury’s findings that the hospital’s negligence in this case proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries and that those injuries included significant cognitive deficits which will limit the plaintiff’s future employment opportunities. The appellate court rejected the hospital’s argument that the plaintiff’s injuries were the consequence of being born prematurely at 26 weeks and not negligence, stating that it was reasonable for the jury to credit the testimony of the plaintiff’s experts that his injuries resulted from an acute episode of hypoxia during labor which was caused by a condition known as an umbilical cord prolapse, and that the plaintiff did not suffer from any of the complications typically seen in premature babies, such as a major brain hemorrhage, a significant blood infection, or problems with the bowel that can cause it to burst. The court also rejected the hospital’s argument for a stricter standard of proof in medical malpractice cases involving premature infants, stating that while the jury probably appreciated the hospital’s efforts in extending the plaintiff’s mother’s pregnancy from 23 to 26 weeks, the jury also recognized that the health care providers did not adhere to the standard of care in delivering the plaintiff and thereby caused his injuries. Click here to read the Daily Record article entitled "$3.6M verdict is upheld," which was published on February 14, 2012.

Gerry Gaeng, Andy Baida and Jim Crossan successfully represented several national financial services companies in multiple consolidated appeals of consumer lawsuits that were recently decided by Maryland’s Court of Appeals. The cases were brought by borrowers under Maryland’s Secondary Mortgage Loan Law (“SMLL”) against companies who had purchased the mortgage loans. Plaintiffs alleged that the lenders who made the loans violated the SMLL by failing to provide a disclosure form and by charging multiple closing fees, and argued that the purchasers of the loans should be liable for the lender’s violations. The Court of Appeals agreed with defendants that the lenders had not violated the SMLL. It held that the disclosure form was not required unless the mortgage loan is for commercial purposes, and that the charging of multiple loan origination fees does not violate the SMLL as long as the aggregate of the fees is within the statute’s 10% cap. The Court of Appeals also rejected plaintiffs’ claims that the purchasers of the loans could be liable for failing to provide loan documents to borrowers who requested them long after the loan had been paid off. Click here to read the opinion.

In a decision which represents a significant victory for developmentally disabled individuals throughout the State of Maryland, Cathey v. Board of Review, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, decided October 25, 2011, Maryland’s highest court agreed with Andy Baida that his client, a developmentally disabled adult who is the subject of an interstate custody arrangement, qualifies for Developmental Disability Administration (DDA) services during the time she lives with her father in this State. Rejecting the DDA’s argument that a developmentally disabled adult can be a resident of only one state, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that such an individual can have multiple residences and is eligible for DDA benefits under Maryland’s Developmental Disabilities Law, which is a remedial statute, while the individual “actually lives” in Maryland. Read more about the case in the front-page Daily Record article entitled "Disabled win in top court" by clicking here.

Steven Wrobel successfully defended a Navy Cryptologic Technician (E - 5) in a general court-martial convened at the Washington Navy Yard in October 2011. Although his client was charged with various forms of sexual assault as well as adultery, Mr. Wrobel convinced the five member panel of Officers and Enlisted members to acquit his client of all charges. Mr. Wrobel was able to minimize the importance of DNA evidence being used by the prosecution, and also employed a scholarly expert on alcoholic blackouts to question the prosecution's version of events. "We did not engage in an all out assault on the complaining witness' credibility, but instead showed that her own alcoholic blackout played a major role in the events of that evening," said Mr. Wrobel. "My client took the stand and was forthright and truthful as to what happened, and what did not happen that evening. The jury obviously came to a similar conclusion."

In a decision issued on June 3, 2011 in H.G. Roebuck & Son, Inc. v. Alter Communications, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland reversed orders of the United States Bankruptcy Court confirming publisher Alter Communications’ Chapter 11 reorganization plan and denying a request by Rosenberg | Martin | Greenberg, LLP client H.G. Roebuck to be allowed to propose a competing reorganization plan. The District Court agreed with the arguments presented by Bill Hallam and Kevin Pascale that the Bankruptcy Code prevented Alter’s plan, which gave the pre-bankruptcy owners of Alter’s stock the exclusive right to own 85% of the stock in the reorganized company, from being confirmed over Roebuck’s objection when creditors were neither allowed to propose competing plans nor allowed to bid against the pre-bankruptcy owners for ownership of the reorganized company.

In a decision issued on April 7, 2011, William S. v. Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Court of Special Appeals agreed with Andy Baida and Caroline Hecker that their client, Howard County General Hospital, acted properly in hospitalizing an individual following an emergency psychiatric evaluation demonstrating that the individual met the statutory criteria for involuntary admission under the Health-General Article of the Maryland Code.

In Kraitchman v. Davis, decided March 21, 2011, Andy Baida and Caroline Hecker convinced the Court of Special Appeals to overturn the decisions of the Circuit Court for Talbot County and the Town of Oxford's Board of Zoning Appeals denying their client's objection to the grant of a special exception to build a residence on a non-conforming, undersized lot. Agreeing that the Board made no findings on the question whether the lot in question was grandfathered under the Town of Oxford Zoning Ordinance, the Court of Special Appeals held that the Board could not delegate this function to another agency, such as the Town Building Official or Town Commissioners, and that the administrative record was insufficient to support a finding that the lot could be grandfathered.

Steven Wrobel recently won a case he argued before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio. Representing a local business, Mr. Wrobel and his partner Christine Pham had previously been successful in getting dismissals of multiple lawsuits filed against his client in two federal courts and one state court. This appeal stemmed from one of the federal court dismissals. Based on a choice of law analysis set out by Mr. Wrobel and Ms. Pham, they successfullly argued that the allegations in the lawsuit had been untimely filed and were barred by the statute of limitations. The Sixth Circuit, affirming the United States District Court in Michigan, agreed. (Professional Consultation Serv, et al. v. Schaefer and Strohminger Incor, et al.)

In D.R.D. Pool Service v. Freed, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued an opinion on September 24, 2010 agreeing with Andy Baida and Doug Furlong that a jury should decide whether a five-year-old boy, Connor Freed, experienced conscious pain and suffering before drowning in a Crofton Country Club pool. The Court of Appeals held that the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County erroneously concluded that there was no evidence that the child experienced any pain and suffering since no one saw the child drown. Citing expert testimony about the physical process that a healthy individual such as the child in this case experiences while drowning, the appellate court held that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to decide the extent to which the child suffered.

In Office of the Public Defender v. State, decided April 16, 2010, the Maryland Court of Appeals agreed with the position advanced by Andy Baida, who was retained as special counsel for the State of Maryland, by holding that a trial court has the authority to order the Public Defender to represent an indigent individual upon finding that the individual cannot afford a lawyer and that the Public Defender's previous indigency determination was erroneous. Andy was asked to represent the State of Maryland because the Public Defender's position in this case was supported by a formal opinion of the Office of the Maryland Attorney General expressing the view that a trial court may not order the Public Defender's Office to represent an individual it has deemed ineligible for representation. An article about the decision can be viewed here.

In Proctor v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, decided on March 12, 2010, Andy Baida successfully argued before the Maryland Court of Appeals that the Maryland Tort Claims Act's $200,000 damages limitation does not apply to a negligence claim filed against WMATA seeking $7 million in damages for catastrophic injuries which his client suffered as a result of being hit by a WMATA bus. An article from The Daily Record about this decision may be viewed here.

In Booth v. Shepard, Andy Baida successfully argued before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals that his client in this medical malpractice case was entitled to have a jury decide whether her health care providers breached the standard of care and caused the permanent injuries she suffered following their attempts to give her a regional nerve block. In a decision issued on September 3, 2009, the Court of Special Appeals vacated the judgment of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City and held that there was a sufficient factual basis from which a jury could conclude that the health care providers were negligent in excessively sedating the patient, thereby rendering her unable to warn them that they were about to inflict the nerve injury which she ultimately suffered when they injected a needle into her neck during the attempted block.

In Giordano v. Sherwood, decided on April 2, 2009, Andy Baida persuaded the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to overturn a $600,000 judgment that had been entered against his client, Dr. Joseph Giordano, on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury verdict that Dr. Giordano was negligent in performing a procedure known as a lumbar sympathectomy. Noting that negligence need not be proven with certainty, the Court of Appeals concluded that the jury verdict nevertheless could not be sustained because it was based on speculation and conjecture that the procedure failed to comply with the standard of care.

K. Hovnanian Homes of Maryland, LLC v. FRON-DJW, LP (June 2008). Gerry Gaeng, assisted by James Crossan, obtained summary judgment in favor of a national home builder seeking to recover the deposit it paid under a lot purchase agreement. The sale never closed because of the seller’s failure to obtain governmental approvals that were a condition to the builder’s obligation to buy. Notwithstanding the seller’s claims of waiver and “legal impossibility,” the Circuit Court for Cecil County, Maryland ordered the seller to pay to Mr. Gaeng’s client the $950,000 deposit and an additional $250,000 in liquidated damages for the seller’s failure to return the deposit when demand was made.

Monk v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2008-64 (March 17, 2008). Caroline Ciraolo successfully argued to U.S. Tax Court that Mr. Monk did not own a bar in Baltimore, Maryland, despite the fact that Mr. Monk reported the business on his personal tax returns, and therefore was not responsible for unreported income, unsubstantiated expenses or penalties.

Henderson's Corner & 355, LLC v. Sovereign Bank (January 2008). Ben Rosenberg represented Sovereign Bank in a dispute with Aris Mardirossian, a prominent Montgomery County real estate developer, which an arbitrator decided in favor of the Bank. Mr. Mardirossian claimed damages of $1,200,000 as a result of the Bank's alleged failure to act in good faith under a 20-year lease of a site for a proposed branch in Gaithersburg, Maryland. After hearing two days' of testimony from six witnesses and considering almost 100 exhibits, the arbitrator held that the Bank's refusal to consent to a change in the design of the proposed building demanded by the Montgomery County Planning Commission was not a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing under the lease. Mr. Mardirossian was represented by DLA Piper, one of the world's largest law firms.

Olde Severna Park Improvement Association, Inc. v. Gunby. Andrew H. Baida successfully argued before the Court of Appeals of Maryland that his clients' ownership of waterfront property on the Severn River includes the riparian right to build a walkway and pier. The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County had invalidated the homeowners' building permit on the ground that the Olde Severna Park Improvement Association rather than the homeowners owned the right to build improvements into the river. In a unanimous decision issued December 3, 2007, the Court of Appeals held that this case presented no exception to the settled rule that the conveyance of land adjacent to a body of water such as a river presumptively carries with it the grantor's riparian rights. The Court of Appeals' decision can be found here.

In Patton Boggs LLP v. Deveney, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on May 22, 2007 affirmed an arbitration award which Ben Rosenberg, Steve Wrobel, Andy Baida, and Jim Crossan successfully litigated and defended, requiring Patton Boggs LLP to pay two of its former partners $4.1 million, plus post-judgment interest in excess of $460,000. The award represented the former partners' share of more than $12.8 million in legal fees that Patton Boggs received from the settlement of claims filed against Pan American World Services and the government of Libya by the families of six crewmembers of Pan Am flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. After Patton Boggs refused to give the former partners their portion of the legal fees, the two attorneys retained Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, which won the case in arbitration, again in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, and once more in the Court of Special Appeals, with the result that Patton Boggs is required to pay the former partners their share of the collected fees and any future Pan Am 103 fees that Patton Boggs receives. An article from The Daily Record about this decision may be viewed here.

Beatty v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service, T.C. Memo. 2007-167 (Judge Chiechi) - Caroline D. Ciraolo persuaded the United States Tax Court that her client was entitled to innocent spouse relief pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 6015(f) with respect to 11 years of joint tax returns. The Court held that the Internal Revenue Service abused its discretion in denying Mrs. Beatty's administrative claim for relief. As a result of this decision, Mrs. Beatty is relieved of more than $725,000 of federal income tax, penalties and interest. The Memorandum Findings of Facts and Opinion can be viewed here.

Smith v. American Healthcare Institute, Howard County Human Rights Commission. Steven Wrobel successfully defends a small business against charges of discrimination in the workplace before the Howard County Human Rights Commission. The Decision may be viewed here.

Swam v. Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, Inc., Court of Appeals of Maryland. Benjamin Rosenberg and Andrew H. Baida successfully persuaded the Court of Appeals, Maryland's highest court, to reverse the Circuit Court for Harford County and to order the reinstatement of their client's claims against the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center for injuries she sustained when she was stuck with an exposed, contaminated hypodermic needle while waiting for her father's surgery. The Circuit Court dismissed those claims on the ground that they were filed too late with the Circuit Court, even though they were timely filed with the Maryland Health Claims Arbitration Office. In a decision likely to have ramifications in a variety of other cases, the Court of Appeals held that filing the claim with the Health Claims Office tolled the running of the statute of limitations.

Flurry v. Flurry, Circuit Court for Howard County, September 2006. T. Christine Pham represented Page Flurry, Personal Representative of the Estate of Gertrude P. Flurry in an action claiming that the defendant fraudulently obtained a deed for the family home from his mother. The jury awarded the Estate $325,000 in compensatory damages and $150,000 in punitive damages. The Court later granted a declaratory judgment in favor of the Estate, voided the deed, and transferred the property back to the Estate. After election of remedies, the Estate obtained title to the property and $150,000 in punitive damages against the defendant.

Imgarten v. Bellboy Corp., 383 F.Supp.2d 825, 838 (D.Md. 2005). David Wyand, along with co-counsel, represented Mr. Imgarten, an employee suing for substantial unpaid commissions under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law. Mr. Imgarten received a jury verdict in his favor of over 1 million dollars. The Court later awarded Mr. Imgarten just under a half of a million dollars in attorneys fees and costs, along with prejudgment interest of approximately a quarter of a million dollars.