Tort/Negligence – Contract – Exculpatory Clause – Unfair Trade Practices – Emotional Distress – Fire Alarm Bahringer v. ADT Security Services, Inc. The parties’ relationship was one of home security company and customer, i.e., contractual. It does not fit within either of the categories in which the S.C. Supreme Court has found that a special relationship (one marked by a professional duty or supervisor-supervisee) imposes extra-contractual duties. Plaintiff has not explained why defendant’s duties to a wheelchair-bound double amputee may be any different than they would be to an able-bodied customer. Therefore, plaintiff’s negligence action fails.
Administrative – Immigrant’s ‘Grabbing’ Officer’s Hand Not ‘Violent’ Crime Karimi v. Holder The 4th Circuit grants an Afghan citizen’s petition for review of a final order of removal, and says the government failed to prove that his act of “grabbing” the hand of a police officer who was processing his Maryland DUI charge was not a “crime of violence” and thus an “aggravated felony” that would trigger his removal under federal immigration law.
Administrative – Appeal Dismissed in Medicaid Cutback Case K.C. v. Shipman In this case involving a cutback in Medicaid services to a class of North Carolina recipients with severe developmental disabilities, the 4th Circuit dismisses an appeal of a preliminary injunction ordering the state Medicaid agency not to reduce services without a hearing; the state agency that administers the Medicaid program has not joined in this appeal filed by the contract healthcare provider that manages the services and its director
Criminal Practice – No Restitution Payment with Tax Refund U.S. v. Grant A district court abused its discretion in adding as a special condition to defendant’s sentencing order an obligation to turn over any tax refund as part of her restitution for illegal receipt of social security payments, and the 4th Circuit vacates the order setting the special condition.
Bankruptcy – Lien-Stripping Approved in Chapter 20 Cases Branigan v. TD Bank NA In a “Chapter 20” bankruptcy case – a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filed within four years of a Chapter 7 discharge – there is no per se rule barring lien-stripping, and the 4th Circuit affirms an order stripping off liens secured by collateral with no value to support them in this suit involving debtors’ residences