The Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court, handed a unanimous victory to Bowie & Jensen partner Michael Siri and associate Carolyn Mech following oral argument in a dispute to enforce neighborhood restrictive covenants.
The land use case began when two homeowners sought to construct a second sellable home on their lot, a violation of the covenants that ran with their property. When the homeowners’ association (HOA) stepped in to prevent the construction, the homeowners sued, seeking a court order that the covenants were no longer enforceable.
Defending the HOA at the trial level, Mr. Siri successfully proved that the HOA was entitled to litigate to defend its rights, and further, established that the covenants at issue remained enforceable despite prior violations of other related restrictions. On appeal, Maryland’s intermediate appellate court—the Court of Special Appeals—also agreed with Mr. Siri, prompting the homeowners to seek one final review at Maryland’s ultimate tribunal. Cases called before the Court of Appeals are either cases of “first impression” of Maryland Law or matters that present an intricate legal question that could cause divisiveness among the courts.
In a 7-0 decision, the Court of Appeals sided with Mr. Siri and Ms. Mech (who joined on brief and in argument), and awarded appellate costs to the HOA. The Court determined that homeowners could not use prior and potentially unfavorable case law to prevent the HOA from litigating this case, and further, that the HOA had not abandoned the covenants. In reaching its decision, the Court pulled heavily from the framework set forth by the courts below and advanced by Mr. Siri and Ms. Mech.
To read the full opinion, click here.
About Michael Siri and Carolyn Mech:
Michael Siri is a partner in Bowie & Jensen’s litigation department, assisting clients with a variety of legal issues. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, including construction law. He has worked on matters at all stages of litigation in both state and federal courts, as well as administrative hearings and arbitrations.
Carolyn Mech is an associate in the firm’s litigation department, as well as the firm’s labor and employment department. After clerking at both the Court of Appeals and the Circuit Court for Howard County, Ms. Mech joined the firm as an associate in October 2012. Since that time, she has developed her trial and appellate practice at the state, federal and administrative levels.