APPELLATE PRACTICE

Both the Maryland and federal judicial systems have three levels of courts relevant to the firm's appellate practice. Each Maryland county has a circuit court. Generally, those courts make the initial decision in the case. The loser has the right to appeal to the Court of Special Appeals. The panel issues unreported opinions or, if the case is important and has precedential value, reported opinions.

 

A loser in the Court of Special Appeals is permitted to request that the highest court - the Maryland Court of Appeals – review the lower court’s decision by filing a petition for a writ of certiorari. The certiorari process is designed to allow the Court of Appeals to decide only cases which it deems important. The Court of Appeals consists of seven judges. The entire Court hears each case. The Court of Appeals typically agrees to review fewer than 20% of the civil cases that litigants present to it. Since 2007, the Court of Appeals has agreed to review eleven of the firm's cases.

 

Maryland has two federal trial courts. One is in Baltimore; the other is in Greenbelt. The mid-level appellate court is the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which is located in Richmond, Virginia.

 

State and federal appellate courts have reviewed the firm's environmental and land use cases since the late 1980’s. His appellate cases have shaped the law regarding standing in the federal and state courts, the federal Clean Water Act, the test for special exceptions in Maryland, the need to comply with a county master plan, industrial nuisances in Maryland, and thermal pollution of trout streams in Maryland.