Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dashiell v. Meeks (Ct. of Appeals)

Filed December 14, 2006--Opinion by Judge Dale R. Cathell. Dissenting opinion by Judge Glenn T. Harrell, Jr.

In a legal malpractice case, the Court of Special Appeals, in reviewing a grant of a motion for summary judgment in favor of the defendant, ordered that the record on appeal be supplemented by material from the record in another case. Ultimately, the Court of Special Appeals did not consider this material in reaching its decision.

Held: There is no requirement that an appellate court must consider portions of the record from a prior case that it (i.e., the appellate court) has ordered to be obtained as a supplement to the record in a subsequent case. The Court of Special Appeals did not abuse its discretion by doing exactly that in this case. In so holding, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals that: (1) the Circuit Court for Wicomico County erred as a matter of law in finding that the plaintiff's claim was barred by the statute of limitations; (2) the Circuit Court for Wicomico County, in a summary judgment context, did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant's motion based on judicial estoppel grounds; and (3) upon remand the defendant is free to assert the claims of limitations, judicial estoppel, and any other defenses.

With respect to the statute of limitations defense, the Court of Appeals discussed the discovery rule in the context of a claim with respect to a contract executed by the plaintiff where part of the plaintiff's claim involves alleged negligence of the attorney with respect to the attorney's advice in the course of the negotiation and preparation of the contract.

The full opinion is available in WPD or PDF.

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