Maryland Discovery Law

Evidence – Discovery – Maryland

Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive summary of discovery law in Maryland, but does include basic and other information.

Definitions

Discovery: A procedure designed to allow disclosure of information between Plaintiffs and Defendants. Written questions, oral questioning, document production and admissions requests are generally allowed. Discovery was designed to to prevent trial by ambush.

Interrogatories: Written questions from Plaintiff to Defendant, or from Defendant to Plaintiff. The questions are mailed to the Plaintiff, Defendant or the attorney for response in writing.  The answers or responses are usually due between 20-30 days.

Deposition: A procedure where verbal questions are asked a Plaintiff or Defendant for immediate response. Depositions are usually recorded by a court reporter, who swears the person to tell the truth before questioning begins.

Production of Documents: The method of obtaining documents from the other party relevant to the case such as all documents a party intends to introduce at trial.

Requests for Admissions: Written questions where you request the other party to admit or deny some relevant fact.

Objections: Objections may be made to all discovery questions if the questions are not relevant, or likely to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence.

Civil Procedure Rules: Virtually all states have adopted a version of civil procedure rules which include rules dealing with discovery.

Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure

Maryland has adopted the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure for Circuit Courts. The rules of discovery are contained in the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure for Civil Courts. The discovery rules also apply in divorce actions.

Discovery Methods: Parties may obtain discovery by one or more of the following methods: depositions upon oral examination or written questions, written interrogatories, production or inspection of documents or other tangible things or permission to enter upon land or other property, mental or physical examinations, and requests for admission of facts and genuineness of documents. Rule 2-401(a)

Sequence and Timing of Discovery: Unless the court orders otherwise, methods of discovery may be used in any sequence. Rule 2-401(b)

Discovery Plan: The parties are encouraged to reach agreement on a plan for the scheduling and completion of discovery. Rule 2-401(c)

Supplementation of Responses: Except in the case of a deposition, a party who has responded to a request or order for discovery and who obtains further material information before trial shall supplement the response promptly. Rule 2-401(e)

Stipulations Regarding Discovery: Unless the court orders otherwise, the parties by written stipulation may provide that a deposition may be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon any notice, and in any manner and, when so taken, may be used like other depositions and modify the procedures  provided by these rules for other methods of discovery, except that the parties may not modify any discovery procedure if the effect of the modification would be to impair or delay a scheduled court proceeding or conference or delay the time specified in a court order for filing a motion or other paper. Rule 2-401(g)

Scope of Discovery: A party may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter, if the matter sought is relevant to the subject matter involved in the action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other party. Rule 2-402(a)

Depositions:

Before Whom Depositions May Be Taken: In this state, a deposition shall be taken before any person authorized to administer an oath. Rule 2-414(a) In any other state of the United States or in a territory, district, or possession of the United States, a deposition shall be taken before any person authorized to administer an oath by the laws of the United States or by the laws of the place where the deposition is taken or before any person appointed by the court in which the action is pending. The person appointed has the power to administer an oath and take testimony. Rule 2-414(b)

In a foreign country, a deposition may be taken on notice before any person authorized to administer an oath in the place in which the deposition is taken, either by the laws of that place or by  the laws of the United States, or before any person commissioned by the court, which person has the power by virtue of the commission to administer an oath and take testimony, or pursuant to a letter rogatory. Rule 2-414(c)

Interrogatories

Any party may serve at any time written interrogatories directed to any other party. Unless the court orders otherwise, a party may serve one or more sets having a cumulative total of not more than 30 interrogatories to be answered by the same party. Interrogatories, however grouped, combined, or arranged and even though subsidiary or incidental to or dependent upon other interrogatories, shall be counted separately. Each form interrogatory contained in the Appendix to these Rules shall count as a single interrogatory. Rule 2-421(a)

Production

Any party may serve upon another party a request to produce certain documents, not privileged, to be inspected and copied. Rule 2-422(a)

Physical and Mental Examination of Persons

When the mental or physical condition or characteristic of a party or of a person in the custody or under the legal control of a party is in controversy, the court may order the party to submit to a mental or physical examination by a suitably licensed or certified examiner or to produce for examination the person in the custody or under the legal control of the party. Rule 2-423

Requests for Admissions

A party may serve at any time one or more written requests to any other party for the admission of the genuineness of any relevant documents described in or exhibited with the request, or the truth of any relevant matters of fact set forth in the request. Copies of documents shall be served with the request unless they have been or are otherwise furnished or made available for inspection and copying. Each matter of which an admission is requested shall be separately set forth. Rule 2-424(a)

Compel Discovery

A discovering party may move for sanctions under Rule 2-433 (a), without first obtaining an order compelling discovery under section (b) of this Rule, if a party or any officer, director, or managing agent of a party or a person designated under Rule 2-412 (d) to testify on behalf of a party, fails to appear before the officer who is to take that person’s deposition, after proper notice, or if a party fails to serve a response to interrogatories under Rule 2-421 or to a request for production or inspection under Rule 2-422, after proper service. Rule 2-432(a) A discovering party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all persons affected, may move for an order compelling discovery. Rule 2-432(b)

Domestic Actions Discovery Notes

If you require extra time to respond to discovery, you should ask the other side for an extension in writing. It may also be necessary to enter an order granting the extension to protect your rights. Discovery questions are limited in number so select the most important questions to ask the other side. Don’t waste your requests writing questions that you already know the answer to.


Inside Maryland Discovery Law