Tuesday, November 24, 2009
In an appeal in "a seemingly endless battle" between a county ethics commission and a former county attorney, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals has remanded for further proceedings. Two longtime county employees, the former county attorney and the former chief administrative officer, were involved as counsel in class action litigation against the county. The commission found an ethics violation and the judge in the class action denied the county's (late blooming) disqualification motion.
The court here notes that "the issues are muddled because we have two judicial trains running largely on parallel tracks, with different engineers. As we shall see, however, in this matter the tracks have crossed." The court observes that both the decisions in ethics and disqualification matters are now "set in stone." The matter was remanded for consideration of sanctions (possibly reduced fees) in the class action matter. The court concluded that principles of res judicata applied to the findings of the commission, which were upheld on appeal. (Mike Frisch)