Articles Posted in Maryland Court of Appeals

by
Respondent had his vehicle serviced at Russel Collision and was billed for the repairs. Jeremy Martin, Russel Collision’s manager, later signed a “Notice of Sale of Motor Vehicle to Satisfy a Lien” for Respondent’s vehicle. The notice listed the “cost of process” at $1,000, which was the amount to which Russel Collision and Allstate Lien agreed they were entitled to keep Respondent’s car and sell it unless Respondent paid the costs related to the future sale of the car. Respondent’s vehicle was eventually sold at auction. Respondent filed suit against Russel Collision, Martin, and Allstate Lien, alleging that Md. Code Ann. Com. Law ("CL") 16-202(c), which provided Russel Collision a lien for Respondent’s vehicle, does not permit lien recovery costs of $1,000 as fees prior to the sale of the car. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Respondent. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed, holding that, under CL 16-202(c), a motor vehicle lien does not encompass “cost of process” fees and that such fees should not be included in the amount the customer must pay to redeem the vehicle. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that a garagemen’s lien does not encompass lien enforcement costs or expenses or cost of process fees prior to sale should the owner attempt to redeem the vehicle before sale. View "Allstate Lien & Recovery Corp. v. Stansbury" on Justia Law

by
Petitioners defaulted on their refinanced home mortgage because of financial hardships. Faced with foreclosure, Petitioners initiated a request to enjoin the foreclosure action filed by Respondents. Respondents, the substitute trustees under the mortgage and Deutsche Bank, possessed and sought to enforce an under-indorsed mortgage note, which, prior to coming into their possession, was transferred three times intermediately, bundled with a multitude of other mortgages, securitized, lost, and then discovered before the ultimate evidentiary hearing leading to the foreclosure sale. The trial court denied injunctive relief to Petitioners, and the court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Respondents were nonholders in possession and entitled to enforce the note and deed of trust through foreclosure. View "Anderson v. Burson" on Justia Law

by
In this action, secured parties, as creditors in bankruptcy proceedings and appellees here, attempted in separate cases before the bankruptcy court to execute on four deeds of trust whose affidavits of considerations were missing or improper. Appellants, four trustees in bankruptcy, argued that those defects rendered the deeds of trust invalid such that the trustees possessed the properties free and clear of the creditor's interests. The creditors countered that Md. Code Ann. Real Prop. 4-109 cured the defects at issue. The Court of Appeals accepted certified questions regarding the statute and answered them in the affirmative, holding that Section 4-109 is unambiguous, and pursuant to the plain language of the statute and as confirmed by legislative history, cures the type of defects identified by the trustees, including missing or improper affidavits or acknowledgments, unless a timely judicial challenge is mounted.

by
Three separate sets of repairs were made to a waste hauler purchased by Consolidated Waste from Standard Equipment. Consolidated Waste filed a complaint in circuit court, seeking to recoup the cost of the second round of repairs and claiming that the first and second set of repairs, performed by Standard Equipment, were made in such a way as to constitute a breach of contract and negligence. The circuit court entered judgment in favor of Standard Equipment. After appealing to the court of special appeals, the Court of Appeals issued a writ of certiorari. The Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion (1) by excluding evidence of the third round of repairs, performed by a different company, as a reasonable trial judge could have determined that the danger of prejudice outweighed substantially any probative value of the evidence; and (2) by utilizing a verdict sheet supplied by Standard Equipment.

by
Debtor Maureen Roberson filed a petition under Chapter 13 of Title 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, alleging that Ford Motor Credit Company wrongfully repossessed her car in the wake of her prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy charge and seeking to recover damages from Ford. During the proceedings, Ford filed a motion for summary judgment. Before the court could rule on the motion, Roberson filed a motion seeking certification of the question of whether a secured creditor is permitted under Maryland law to repossess in a car in which it maintains a security interest when the debtor has filed a bankruptcy petition and has failed to reaffirm the indebtedness, but has otherwise made timely payments before, during, and after bankruptcy proceedings. The Bankruptcy Court granted the motion. The Supreme Court answered the certified question in the positive because the parties agreed that Ford elected Section 12-1023(b) of the Credit Grantor Closed End Credit Provisions, Commercial Law Article, Maryland Code, to govern the retail installment contract in the present case.