Rockledge Associates, LLC v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co., 012418 FED4, 17-1278

Docket Nº:17-1278, 17-1297
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM:
Party Name:ROCKLEDGE ASSOCIATES, LLC, Plaintiff - Appellant, v. TRANSAMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee. ROCKLEDGE ASSOCIATES, LLC, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. TRANSAMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:William M. Bosch, Robert A. DeRise, John Robinson, ARNOLD & PORTER KAYE SCHOLER LLP, Washington, D.C., for Appellant/Cross-Appellee. Rebecca A. Davis, C. Leanne Prybylski, SEYFARTH SHAW LLP, Atlanta, Georgia, for Appellee/Cross-Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before KING and SHEDD, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge.
Case Date:January 24, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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ROCKLEDGE ASSOCIATES, LLC, Plaintiff - Appellant,

v.

TRANSAMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee.

ROCKLEDGE ASSOCIATES, LLC, Plaintiff - Appellee,

v.

TRANSAMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 17-1278, 17-1297

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 24, 2018

UNPUBLISHED

Submitted: December 7, 2017

Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Greenbelt. Paul W. Grimm, District Judge. 8:16-cv-00710-PWG

William M. Bosch, Robert A. DeRise, John Robinson, ARNOLD & PORTER KAYE SCHOLER LLP, Washington, D.C., for Appellant/Cross-Appellee.

Rebecca A. Davis, C. Leanne Prybylski, SEYFARTH SHAW LLP, Atlanta, Georgia, for Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

Before KING and SHEDD, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge.

Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.

Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.

PER CURIAM:

Rockledge Associates LLC ("Rockledge") appeals and Transamerica Life Insurance Co. ("Transamerica") cross-appeals the district court's order granting in part and denying in part their respective motions for summary judgment. Rockledge contends that the Ground Lease between it and Transamerica has not terminated because the filing of a complaint in district court does not constitute notice under the Ground Lease to terminate the lease. Transamerica contends in its cross-appeal that it is allowed to, and did, waive the notice of default required in § 10.1 of the Ground Lease because the notice provision in that section is solely for its own benefit. Transamerica also has moved to dismiss Rockledge's appeal, contending that Rockledge has acquiesced to the judgment of the district court by reentering the Property and, therefore, that Rockledge has waived its right to appeal. We deny the motion to dismiss, and we affirm.

Turning first to the motion to dismiss, "[u]nder the Erie[[1 doctrine, federal courts sitting in diversity apply state substantive law and federal procedural law." Gasperini v. Ctr. for Humanities, Inc., 518 U.S. 415, 427 (1996). A law is "substantive" if it is outcome determinative-that is, whether "application of the standard" would "have so important an effect upon the fortunes of one or both of the litigants that failure to apply it would unfairly discriminate against citizens of the forum State, or be likely to cause a plaintiff to choose the federal court." Id. at 428 (brackets, ellipsis, and internal quotation marks omitted).

In Maryland, under the doctrine of acquiescence-also known as "[t]he doctrine of waiver[, ] . . . estoppel, acceptance of benefits creating mootness, and acquiescence in judgment"-"a voluntary act of a party which is inconsistent with the assignment of errors on appeal normally precludes that party from obtaining appellate review." Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Ford, 71 A.3d 105, 126 (internal quotation marks omitted), as supplemented on denial of reconsideration, 71 A.3d 144 (Md. 2013). This rule is narrowly applied, however: "A party's right to appeal may be waived only where there is acquiescence in the decision from which the appeal is taken or by otherwise taking a position inconsistent with the right to appeal." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Furthermore, "[t]he waiver doctrine applies only to conduct that is necessarily inconsistent with the right to appeal." Id. at 127 (internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, "an exception to this rule is recognized in cases where the judgment is for less than the amount or short of the right claimed." Dietz v. Dietz, 720 A.2d 298, 301 (Md. 1998) (internal quotation marks omitted).

We have similarly ruled that, "[a]s a general rule, when a party knows the facts and voluntarily accepts the benefits of a judgment, he thus waives any errors in the decree and estops himself from appealing the decree." In re Tudor Assocs., Ltd., II, 20 F.3d 115, 118 (4th Cir. 1994) (internal quotation marks omitted). However, this rule "is not absolute, " and "[a]n appeal is barred [only] when circumstances indicate an intention to finally compromise and settle a disputed claim." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Indeed, "it is the mutual manifestation of an intention to bring the litigation to a definite conclusion upon a basis acceptable to all parties which bars a subsequent appeal." Id. (internal quotation marks...

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