Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ehrlich v. Grove (Ct. of Appeals)

Decided January 11, 2007 -- Opinion by Judge Dale Cathell.

In a case involving a suit by a senior official of the Maryland Department of the Environment for wrongful termination by Governor Robert Ehrlich upon the beginning of his term as Governor in January 2002, the Court of Appeals held that an interlocutory appeal is appropriate under the extraordinary circumstance of a discovery order being directed to a Governor of Maryland when the collateral order doctrine’s four-part test is met, namely, when:
the interlocutory order sought to be reviewed:

(1) conclusively determines the disputed question,

(2) resolves an important issue,

(3) resolves an issue that is completely separate from the merits of the action, and

(4) would be effectively unreviewable if the appeal had to await the entry of a final judgment.
The Court of Appeals further held that the Circuit Court for Baltimore City had abused its discretion when, in the course of resolving a complex and extended discovery dispute between the parties, it ordered expanded in camera review with the active participation of the attorney for the Plaintiff of documents protected by attorney-client privilege or the work product doctrine and when it actively solicited by its draft of a solicitation letter the consent of 341 former executive-branch employees of the State of Maryland to the release of employment and other documents that the Circuit Court itself had held to be irrelevant and not reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence in this case.

The full opinion is available here in PDF.

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