Appellate Practice

Our firm has briefed and argued numerous matters in both the Maryland Court of Appeals and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.  We are fully prepared to guide a case from the trial level through the appeals process, but are also available to handle just the appellate portion of a case. 

Recent appellate developments:

Barr v. Rochkind, 225 Md.App. 336 (2015)– In this lead paint matter, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of our client.  The Court held that Plaintiff could not rely on circumstantial evidence of exposure to lead-based paint at the Defendant’s property because she did not include any evidence excluding other reasonably probable sources of her lead exposure.  We successfully opposed Plaintiff’s writ of certiorari, which was denied by the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Woznicki v. GEICO General Ins. Co., 443 Md. 93 (2015)– In this Underinsured Motorist claim, the insured settled and released her claim against the tortfeasor without seeking or obtaining permission, in writing, to settle such claims from GEICO, in accordance with the policy provisions and Insurance Art. §19-511.  The insured alleged she had received oral permission to settle, which was highly disputed.  After GEICO was granted summary judgment, the insured appealed.  The Court of Appeals held that the requirement imposed by statute and by the insurance policy that the insured notify the insurer in writing of a policy limits settlement offer, and obtain written authority from the insurer before settling and releasing her claim, could be waived, but there was insufficient evidence to support that GEICO ever waived this requirement.  In addition, the Court of Appeals held that the “prejudice” requirement contained in Insurance Art. § 19-110 does not apply to disclaimers of UM coverage where an insured fails to obtain permission to settle her claim with the tortfeasor. 

Connors v. GEICO, 442 Md. 466 (2015) (UM/UIM)– In this Underinsured Motorist claim, each of the two insureds received $100,000 from the tortfeasor and then made claims under their UM policy, which had limits of $300,000 per person/$300,000 per occurrence limits.  The insureds asserted that the reductions permitted under Insurance Art. §19-509 and the GEICO policy for the amount received from the tortfeasor was to be deducted from the “per person” limits rather than the “per occurrence” limits, and asserted that they each were entitled to recover $200,000 in UM benefits, subject to the $300,000 “per occurrence” limit.  The Court of Appeals agreed with GEICO’s interpretation that, because there was more than one insured injured, the “per occurrence” limit was the starting point, and the $200,000 that the insureds collected from the tortfeasor was deducted from this “per occurrence” limit, leaving $100,000 remaining to satisfy both of their UM claims.