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Overview of the State of Maryland Court System



A. Venue

Generally Venue is covered under Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. §6-201. In civil actions the action should be brought in a county where the Defendant resides, carries on a regular business, is employed or habitually engages in a vocation. In addition, a corporation also may be sued where it maintains its principle offices in the State. If there are multiple defendants then the preference is a venue where all defendants can be sued. If there is more than one defendant and there is no single venue applicable to all defendants then all defendants may be sued in a county in which any one of them could be sued, or in the county where the cause of action arose. Md. Statute Cts. & Jud. Proc. Article §6-202 provides places for additional venue. These include where the Plaintiff resides when a corporation has no principle place of business in the state, where the cause of action arose for a tort claim based on negligence, and any County in the State when the action for damages is against a non-resident individual.

B. Statue of Limitations

In general, a civil action at law shall be filed within three years from the date it accrues unless another provision of the Code provides a different period of time within which an action shall be commenced. Md. Code Ann., [Cts. & Jud. Proc.] § 5-101 (1999). In the past, Maryland applied a "date of the wrong" rule to determine when a cause of action accrues; now, Maryland generally applies the discovery rule, which provides that a cause of action accrues when a plaintiff in fact knows or reasonably should know of the wrong. Martin Marietta Corp. v. Gould, Inc., 70 F.3d 768 (4th Cir. 1995).

For medical malpractice cases, there is a three year statute of limitations from date of discovery, or a five year statute of limitations from the date of the injury, whichever is shorter. Maryland Code, Cts. and Jud. Proc., 5-109

For minors, the first day of the statute of limitations period is the minor’s eighteenth birthday. Maryland Code, Cts and Jud. Proc. § 5-201; Mason v. Board of Education of Baltimore County, 375 Md. 504, 826 A.2d 433 (2003)

C. Time for Filing An Answer

Under Md. Rules 2-321 a party shall file an answer to an original Complaint, Counter-Claim,Cross-Claim or Third-Party Claim within 30 days after being served. However, a Defendant who is served with an original pleading outside of the State but within the United States shall file an Answer within 60 days after being served. The time for filing an Answer is extended when a Motion to dismiss under Md. Rule Civ. Pro. 2-322 is filed. The extension lasts for 15 days after the entry of the Court’s Order on the Motion or 15 days after service of a more definite statement if that is required in the Court Order.

D. Dismissal Re-Filing of Suit

Any time before any Defendant answers the suit, the Plaintiff can voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit without leave of court. However, after any Defendnat has answered the suit, dismissals without prejudice requires either consent of all parties, or leave of court.

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Overview of the State of Maryland Court System

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