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Maryland Supreme Court

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Property Condemned and "Quick-Taken" by City

Tue, 06/24/2014

Makowshi v. Mayor & City of Baltimore: Makowshi owned property that is in the middle of a city-planned development. When the City attempted to purchase the property, Makowshi and the City were unable to agree upon a price. In response, the City filed a petition for the property to be condemned and then filed a petition for immediate possession and title under the authority that possession of the property was a necessity for the City. The Circuit Court affirmed the condemnation and the City’s “quick-take” request on the basis that Makowshi is a “hold-out.”


The Supreme Court of Maine upheld the decision of the lower court by affirming that Makowshi is a “hold-out.” The decision of this case resulted in the City taking Makowshi’s private property against his will for the use of the City and its planned development.

Read the full decision here

Can You Call an Attorney Before a Breathalyzer Test?

Wed, 05/21/2014

Motor Vehicle Administration v. Deering: Deering was pulled over and instructed by officers to take a breath-test to determine her blood-alcohol level. She asked if she could call her attorney before making the decision. The officer said that she could not. She took the breath-test which resulted in her being issued a DUI and getting her license suspended for 90 days. The case was appealed on the issue of whether someone is allowed legal counsel prior to taking a breath-test and whether or not the denial violates due process.


The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the lower courts. Maryland’s highest court ruled that the denial of legal counsel before taking a breath test does not deny the individual due process because denying the breath-test automatically results in a license suspension of equal time. Since the consequences of not taking the test are the same as failing the test, the Court concluded that taking the test is an individual decision that does not require legal counsel. This decision is concerning considering the fact that an individual in this position should have the right to obtain legal counsel if they so wish considering that they are not being attained or brought into custody.

Read the full decision here

Hotel Potentially Liable for Trespassing Toddler

Mon, 04/28/2014

Blackburn Limited Partnership v. Alicia Paul: 3 year-old Christopher Paul crossed into the property of a hotel owned by BlackBurn Partnership and nearly drowned in its pool resulting in severe injuries. Alicia Paul, mother, filed a suit against Blackburn on the basis that the hotel breached their duty to maintain a safe pool environment. Blackburn appealed on the basis that Christopher was a trespasser on the property. The lower courts ruled that Blackburn is required to meet pool safety standards established by the state and that negligence to meet these standards does not require the injured party to be one to which a duty is owed.


The Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the lower courts stating that if Blackburn Partnership is proven to be non-compliant with the safety standards set by the state, then they are liable for the harm that came to Christopher regardless of whether the child was trespassing. The case was sent back to lower court for further proceedings.

Read the full decision here