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Allstate Insurance Company v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Company No. 43, Sept. Term, 2000 - page 12 / 26





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The court said that it was convinced, by a preponderance of the evidence, that, had Kirby

cooperated, Winston would also have been found negligent. Itbased that determination on the fact that

Winstonwasdrivingat55-60milesanhour,glancing in his rear view mirror and over his right shoulder for

“an appreciablelengthoftime,”thatGregorie saw the Kirby vehicle two to three seconds before he did,

that Winston’s testimony that the Kirby vehicle had no lights on “isnot persuasive” in light of Weiner’s

testimony, and that “[h]ad Winston looked to see that which was plainly there to be seen, he would have

seen the Kirby vehicle at least at the same time that Gregorie did.” Citing Fid. & Cas. Co. v.

McConnaughy, 228 Md. 1, 179 A.2d 117 (1962), the court determined that the appropriate remedy

was to grant the motion for reconsideration and to hold “that State Farm’s actual prejudice is limited to the

value of its loss of the Right of Contribution from Winston, that is to say responsibility for ifty percent

(50%) of Gregorie’s damages up tothe limits of State Farm’s liability coverage on the Kirby vehicle.” The

order, whichconstitutedthelastthreeparagraphsofthememorandum,simply stated that the motion for

reconsideration was granted “and the Oral Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities is amended in

accordance with this decision.”1

1Once again, we are presented with a declaratory judgment action in which there is no written declaratory judgment. We have admonished trial courts that, when a declaratory judgment action is brought and the controversy is appropriate for resolution by declaratory judgment, the court must enter a declaratory judgment and that judgment, defining the rights and obligations of the parties or the status of the thing in controversy, must be in writing. It is not permissible for the court to issue an oral declaration. The text of the judgment must be in writing. See Ha ford Mutual Ins. Co. v. Wood in, 344 Md. 399, 414-15, 687 A.2d 652, 659 (1997); Ashton v. Brown, 339 Md. 70, 87, 660 A.2d 447, 455 (1995); Christ v. Department, 335 Md. 427, 435, 644 A.2d 34, 38 (1994). Nor, since the 1997 amendment to Maryland Rule 2-601(a), is it permissible for the declaratory judgment to be part of a memorandum. Thatrulerequiresthat“[e]achjudgmentshallbesetforthonaseparatedocument.” When entering a declaratory judgment, the court must, in a separate document, state in writing its declaration of


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