Maryland Civil Litigation Process

The Maryland civil litigation process can be grueling and challenging. It starts with the attorney for the plaintiff conducting an investigation to make sure they can confirm everything they allege. Once they are confident that they have enough background information on the case and they can meet their burden of proof, they begin the case by filing the lawsuit, preparing the complaint, and getting the summons. The lawyer should be prepared to withstand the other side trying to have the case dismissed at an early stage. They should explain to the plaintiff that it is likely that motions will be filed to claim everything the plaintiff alleges is wrong and not true.

Discovery is the next phase of the litigation process and it could be the most complicated, time-consuming, and expensive part of the case. A seasoned civil litigation lawyer should be prepared to conduct discovery efficiently to understand what is and is not relevant to the case so they do not waste time on extraneous issues. Once discovery is done, the attorney may try to get the case resolved on a motion for summary judgment because the facts are so clear there is no dispute as to what happened. If that fails, the lawyer must prepare for trial by getting witness disclosures and scheduling expert witnesses. The parties involved in the litigation process are the attorneys, witnesses, expert witnesses, the judge, the judge’s clerk, and possibly jurors.

Jury Selection Process

The jury selection in Maryland is a method to select people to serve on a jury. There is generally a jury pool comprised of names from the community. Everyone in the county must serve on the jury at some point. A person receives a summons to sit on a jury, they go to court in the morning and sit in a room until they are called into a courtroom for voir dire, where they are questioned by the attorneys about their qualifications. The attorneys and the judge rule out people they do not want and maneuver for people that they do want. Jurors are then selected and set for the trial.

The litigants have an idea of what the juror pool is like but they do not get much information about the individual prospective jurors. The attorneys have a way of weeding out people who may be connected to the case or have a bias. Each side may eliminate potential jurors. For the most part, it is hard to throw out all the negative things for their case. The attorneys cannot know the people well enough from a two-page questionnaire because they do not get much information.

How Long Does the Litigation Process Take?

The length of the civil litigation process in Maryland depends on the type of case. All cases in Maryland are assigned to a track based on the complexity of the case, the number of defendants, and the expected length of the trial. A case assigned to track zero does not require any discovery and is fairly simple to resolve. It should be finished within 90 days of filing the lawsuit. More complex cases are assigned to the B&T track, where they are given more time to be resolved. That could be 18 months or two years from start to finish, but it must be done at a certain time. All cases get a trial-by-case in Maryland.

Factors that may prolong litigation are:

  • Cooperation of the plaintiff
  • Cooperation of the defendant
  • Obstruction of the process by one side
  • Overworked legal systems

How a Maryland Lawyer Could Help with the Civil Litigation Process

The easiest way an accomplished attorney can expedite the Maryland civil litigation process is to conduct an appropriate assessment of the case at the beginning of the case make sure the plaintiff is prepared to litigate the case through completion, both financially and emotionally. The attorney should maintain a positive relationship with the plaintiff and have the plaintiff provide them with the information they need. The attorney controls what, how, and when information is disseminated. They may work cooperatively with the opposition to avoid unnecessary conflict that might derail the case.