Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal of Local Zoning Authority in Harford Landfill Case

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court potentially ended the decades-long legal dispute between Harford County and Maryland Reclamation Associates, Inc. (MRA) by declining to review a case that could have set a new precedent on property takings through inverse condemnation. The Supreme Court let stand without comment the Maryland Court of Appeals’ ruling overturning a previous jury decision which would have forced the County to pay $45 million in damages and interest to MRA.…

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Hogan Announces Court of Special Appeals Appointment

Governor Larry Hogan announced the appointment of Terrence Mark Ranko Zic to the Court of Special Appeals after interviewing nominees submitted by the Appellate Courts Judicial Nominating Commission. From press release: “The appointment of qualified individuals to serve across our state’s justice system is paramount to upholding our responsibilities to the people of Maryland and the rule of law,” said Governor Hogan. “I have confidence that Terrence Zic will continue to be a strong advocate…

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MACo, MML Release Joint Statement on Proposed Local Government Tort Claim Act Legislation

MACo and MML submitted a joint letter of information on proposed legislation regarding the Local Government Tort Claims Act (LGTCA) that was heard by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The proposed legislation, JPR 11 - Tort Claims Acts – Limits on Liability – Law Enforcement Officers, is part of the draft Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021. The Local Government Tort Claims Act (LGTCA) sets reasonable judgment limits on claims against local governments and their…

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Senate JPR Police Reform Hearing Two of Three Centers on Tech, Torts, and Investigations

The second day of virtual Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee (JPR) hearings on draft police accountability and law enforcement reform legislation for the 2021 session focused on police body cameras, tort claims liabilities, and state prosecutor investigator authority among other issues.  JPR Chair Will Smith jumped right into the day's work noting that the hearing on Wednesday's six bill proposals would follow the same format as the day before. First, the sponsors would introduce the bills.…

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Federal Judge: Pennsylvania’s Pandemic Restrictions Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Pittsburgh today found that orders issued by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf restricting the size of gatherings and closing non-essential businesses to guard against the spread of COVID-19 were unconstitutional. The governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV wrote. “But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.” Courts…

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Attorney General Frosh Joins Motion for Preliminary Injunction Against USPS Disruptions

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, together with a coalition of other states, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to immediately halt the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) operational changes that have led to cratering postal performance. The changes also threaten the ability of the USPS to properly handle the November presidential election, which is expected to have a record number of mail-in ballots due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “For weeks, we have heard from…

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Frederick Prevails in Litigation Over Monrovia Town Center Zoning

In a unanimous decision, the Maryland Court of Appeals — the highest court in the State — ruled for Frederick County in a long-running legal battle regarding the zoning of 450 acres of agricultural land in the southeastern part the County, often referred to as the Monrovia Town Center. The project was first approved by the last Board of County Commissioners in 2013. The zoning change for Monrovia Town Center from Agriculture to Planned Unit Development…

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Court Affirms City’s Food Truck Distance Rules

Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Baltimore City's '300-foot rule' for food trucks. The law, passed in 2014, prohibits all mobile vendors from operating within 300 feet of a competing brick and mortar establishment. Violators can be fined or have their licenses revoked. Though typically violators are asked to relocate or change menus. The court rejected arguments from the food trucks that the rule violated their constitutional rights. The Baltimore Sun reports: The…

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MoCo Private Schools Debate Heading to Federal Courts

Following a week of back-and-forth regarding the authority to allow or deny private schools to re-open for in-person classes, the dispute between Montgomery County and the State of Maryland appears to be headed to the federal courts. In a predictable turn following several days of salvos, the matter of approving (or denying) private school in-person education in Montgomery County appears to be headed to federal court. The County, whose public schools will be remote offerings…

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All-Electronic Tolling Now Permanent Statewide at MDTA Facilities

Governor Hogan announced that full-time cashless tolling will now be permanent across the state at all Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) facilities. While MDTA temporarily implemented cashless tolling in March as a part of its COVID-19 response, this will now be permanent at all facilities including the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95), Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95), Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895), and Nice/Middleton Bridge (US 301). With cashless tolling, tolls are automatically collected through E-ZPass and…

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