Montgomery County Circuit Court
North Tower 1st floor, Rm 1200
|Hours of Operation:||8:30 am - 4:30 pm|
- Types of Cases Handled by the Civil Department
- Basic Civil Procedures
- Things to Consider Before Filing a Civil Suit with the Court
- How to View and Copy Cases and Exhibits Filed in the Court
- Administrative Appeals: How to File a Petition for Judicial Review of Agency Actions or Decisions
- Administrative Appeals
- Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource (ASTAR)
- Auto Negligence
- Business and Technology (B&T)
- Breach of Contract
- Confessed Judgment
- District Court Appeals
- District Court Jury Demands
- Enrolling Judgments
- Foreign Decrees
- Medical Malpractice
- Miscellaneous Petitions to accomplish very specific acts
- Tax Liens
Standard Civil proceedings consist of the following steps or events.Scheduling of these events is detailed in the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s Civil Differentiated Case Management (DCM) Plan:
- Step 1) File a complaint
- Step 2) Serve the Other Party/Parties
- Step 3) Attend the Scheduling Conference
- Step 4) Discovery and Investigation
- Step 5) Pretrial Motions
- Step 6) Settlement/Pretrial Conference Trial
- Step 7) Trial
The rules for filing a civil case are in the Maryland Rules of Procedure, Title 2, Civil Procedure – Circuit Court (Chapters 100-600). Click here for the on-line Maryland Laws available from the Maryland State Law Library.
Anyone over the age of 18 can initiate a Civil filing. A civil action begins by filing a Complaint with the Court. A company cannot represent itself.
The caption of the Complaint should be “In Montgomery County Circuit Court, Maryland”. The Case Caption should also include the name, address, and telephone number of the Plaintiff (you as the person initiating the case) and the name and address of the Defendant (the person the case is filed against).
In the body of the Complaint, state the facts of your case and what relief you are seeking from the Court. If you are requesting a trial by jury, state this at the end of your Complaint and title it as such. You must also sign the document as the Plaintiff/person filing the case.
You will need to file the original Complaint with a copy for each defendant. You might also want to make a copy for your records.
The Filing Fee
$165.00 (check made payable to “Clerk of the Court”)
Case Information Report
Parties must file a Case Information Report with the Court when a Complaint is filed. This form can be obtained from the Clerk of the Court or is available online from the Maryland Judiciary (click here for the form).
The other party/parties of the case must be notified and receive the papers that you filed with the Court within 60 days after the filing.
The Service Packet and Summons
Once you or your attorney file and docket your Complaint with the Clerk of the Court (including the original and one additional copy), the Clerk will generate the Service Packet, which includes the summons, new case number, and Scheduling Order.
The Clerk of the Court will mail the Service Packet to you as the Plaintiff or your counsel to handle service unless you request service be handled by the Sheriff.
Instructions for Service
The Summons (an official court notice telling the defendant that he or she has been sued and must appear in court) can be served either by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office or by a private process server. YOU CANNOT SERVE THE DEFENDANT(S) YOURSELF.
For service in Montgomery County, you can request that the Sheriff’s Office serve your Summons (and the other materials in the Service Packet) by including a written request for the service when you file the Complaint. The Clerk’s Office will send the Service Packet to the Sheriff’s Office for service. The fee for this is $40.00 for each service and may be paid by check payable to “Montgomery County Sheriff” at the time of filing.
You can also arrange to have a private process server serve the Service Packet. The individual handling this type of service must be an adult aged 18 or older. You can also hire a private process company to handle service for a fee (search online under "private process servers" in your area). Again, you cannot serve the Defendant(s) yourself. A private process company may be the best way to handle service outside Montgomery County.
Dates for the court proceedings are automatically set at the time of filing. At a Scheduling Conference, the involved parties adjust the proceeding schedule. The Judge may also order the parties to attempt to solve their disputes and participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR") refers to any means of settling disputes outside of the courtroom. The most common means of ADR are arbitration and mediation.
During the Discovery and Investigation stage, the parties prepare for the trial by obtaining case information known to other parties or nonparties and/or identifying witnesses and materials to support their argument.
Up to a certain point of time (“Motion Filing Cutoff” date), the parties are allowed to file motions to request that the Court take certain actions on the case, such as dismissing the case, and entering summary judgment. The Motion Filing Cutoff date varies by the complexity of the case. See the Civil Differentiated Case Management (DCM) Plan for details.
Before the case goes to trial, the Court convenes a meeting with the parties to explore the possibility of settling the case.
If the parties are not able to reach an agreement, the case goes to a trial where a judge resolves the dispute based on the facts presented by the parties, and issues a ruling that explains the basis for his/her decision. In a jury trial, jurors will hear and decide the case on the basis of the judge’s legal instructions.Should this case go to court?
Consider, first, that taking a case to court can be an expensive way of solving your problem. If you sue and lose, the Court may order you to pay the costs of the other parties, which could be significant. Second, there are several ways to settle your case without going to court, including mediation, arbitration, and negotiation between lawyers involved in the dispute. Third, consider the cost of taking a case to court as opposed to the cost of each alternative approach. For more information about possible ways to settle the dispute out of court and reduce costs, consult your attorney.
If you have a complaint about a product and/or services that you purchased, or any other consumer-related complaints, including problems related to health care and financial matters, first contact the following government agencies:
Not all civil cases can be filed or may be appropriate to be filed with the Court. Before filing your case with any court, consider the following 3 issues to find the appropriate court in which to file your case:
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
One needs to determine whether a particular court has the power to hear a particular type of case. When it comes to filing civil cases in Maryland, the District Court has exclusive jurisdiction in civil matters of claims involving $5,000 or less. Claims involving amounts between $5,000-$25,000 may be filed in Circuit Court and in District Court. The Circuit Court has jurisdiction of claims involving amounts in excess of $25,000 except in Landlord-Tenant matters or in replevin.
For more information on filing civil claims in the District Court, see Maryland Attorney General's small claims.
- Personal Jurisdiction
One must also consider whether a particular court has power over the person being sued, that is, whether it is fair to sue a person in that court. To determine the existence of personal jurisdiction, the Court will examine the defendant’s contact with and activities in the state in which the lawsuit is filed. While it is relatively easy to determine that a defendant is subject to the power of all courts sitting in the state where he/she is a resident or has substantial contact, it is much harder to answer the question in the case of non-resident defendants.
In addition, only individuals can file a civil suit. Companies cannot represent themselves; they must obtain legal counsel.
When a defendant has sufficient contacts in multiple states, and thus is subject to personal jurisdiction in many state and federal courts, these courts may have the power to hear a case involving the defendant. In a situation where multiple venues are available, one must decide the right court in which the lawsuit may be filed based on the existing state and federal venue rules.
In Maryland, parties must file most cases within 3 years of the time when it was first possible to file. If you are making an old claim, the Court may dismiss your case by “statute of limitations.” If you are uncertain, consult your attorney.
All court files are open to the public except those that have been sealed by a court order. Central Files, located in the North Tower 1st floor, Rm 1100 of the Montgomery County Circuit Court, houses and protects all Civil, Family, and Criminal files (except the most recent criminal files, which are located in the Criminal Department). You must present the Circuit Court case number when requesting a court file. The indexes (individual and corporation from 1967-present) are located in the Central Files Office.
You can request copies of papers in files from the Copy and Exhibit Room (North Tower 1st floor, Rm 1400, Montgomery County Circuit Court). A fee for copying papers is $.50 per page. All Civil and Family case exhibits are housed in this office. Exhibits are open to the public except for cases sealed by order of court. You will also need the Circuit Court case number to request an exhibit.
You can view unsealed case records from Montgomery County Circuit Court filed in the State of Maryland online at Maryland Judicial Case Search (Maryland Judiciary).
An appeal is a proceeding in which a party to the case disagrees with the Circuit Court judge’s ruling and wants the case to be heard in a higher court. You or your attorney must file an appeal within 30 days after the final judgment is entered. The Circuit Court notifies the Court of Special Appeals if a defendant in a criminal case or either party in a civil or family law case does not agree with the court decision.
Once an appeal is filed with the Appeals Clerk at the Circuit Court (located in the Court’s Civil and Family Law window), all necessary original papers, including the original transcript (to be provided by the person filing the appeal) are sent to the Court of Special Appeals by the deadline provided in the order from the Court of Special Appeals.
Filing Fees: $121.00 (cash, money order, or check payable to the "Clerk of Court"). No credit cards accepted.
Appeals Filed from the District Court to the Circuit Court
If you lost your case in District Court, you may appeal to Circuit Court. If your case was in Circuit Court (even if it was an appeal from District Court), you must file a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals (Maryland’s highest court) in Annapolis.
An Administrative Appeal is a petition to the Court to review an agency’s decision-making process for yielding a particular decision or action of that agency. This section provides general instructions on how to file a Petition for Judicial Review of an administrative agency’s decisions or actions. If you do not agree with decisions made or actions taken by a state or local government agency, you may file a Petition for Administrative Appeal in the Circuit Court. However, keep in mind that the Court does not substitute its judgment for that of the agency; the purpose of judicial review of agency decisions/actions is to examine its decision-making process in terms of the interpretation of applicable laws and the facts that the agency utilized in making decisions.
How to File a Petition for Judicial Review of Agency Actions or Decisions
A petition seeking judicial review of decisions made by “any agency, board, department, district, commission, authority, commissioner, official, the Maryland Tax Court, or other unit of the State or of a political subdivision of the State” may be filed with the Court. (Maryland Rule 7-201 (b))
You must include the following in the caption of your Petition:
- Your name and address,
- Name and address of the agency whose decision(s) you are seeking a Petition of Judicial Review, and
- Agency proceeding, including the case number
In the main body of the Petition, you must explicitly request judicial review, identify the order or action of which review is sought, and state whether you were a party to the agency proceeding. No other statements or allegations are necessary.
Make a copy of the Petition for each agency named and provide it to the Clerk of the Court when you file your Petition. Also make one copy for your records.
Yes, generally, you or your attorney must file a Petition for Judicial Review of an agency decision or action within 30 days after the decision or action in question was made, the notice of the order or action was sent (if the agency is required by law to send such a notice to you), or the day you received the notice of action or decision (if the law stipulates that you must receive such a notice).
$165.00 (check made payable to “Clerk of the Court”)
The filing party will receive a written notice from the agency named in the caption, indicating the receipt of the Petition.
Within 60 days after the agency receives the first Petition for Judicial Review, the agency must provide the original or a certified copy of the proceedings, such as the transcript of testimony, exhibits, and other papers filed in the agency proceeding. If the testimony has been recorded but not transcribed before the filing of the Petition for Judicial Review, the filing party may be required to pay for the transcription. Upon the filing of the record, the Clerk of the Court will notify the filing party of the receipt of the record. A date for Administrative Appeal hearing will be scheduled upon the filing of the record.
Per Maryland Rule 7-207, within 30 days after the clerk sends notice of the filing of the record, a petitioner shall file a memorandum setting forth a concise statement of the questions presented for review, a statement of facts material to those questions, and argument on each question, including citations of authority and references to pages of the record and exhibits relied on. Within 30 days after service of the memorandum, any person who has filed a response, including the agency when entitled by law to be a party to the action, may file an answering memorandum in similar form. The petitioner may file a reply memorandum within 15 days after service of an answering memorandum. Except with the permission of the court, a memorandum shall not exceed 35 pages. In an action involving more than one petitioner or responding party, any petitioner or responding party may adopt by reference any part of the memorandum of another.
If a petitioner fails to file a memorandum within the time prescribed by this Rule, the court may dismiss the action if it finds that the failure to file or the late filing caused prejudice to the moving party. A person who has filed a response but who fails to file an answering memorandum within the time prescribed by this Rule may not present argument except with the permission of the court.
Based on the facts provided by the parties and agency, the Court may dismiss the action for judicial review; or may affirm, reverse, or modify the agency’s order, remand the action to the agency for further proceedings; or a combination of these.
Before filing a Petition for Judicial Review of a decision by the Workers’ Compensation Commission, you or your attorney must serve a copy of the Petition on the Commission and each party of record in the proceeding by first class mail. You or your attorney must also file a Certificate of Service when the Petition is filed with the Court. Memoranda are not required for a Petition seeking Judicial Review of a decision made by the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Maryland Rules 7-201 through 210 (Chapter 200. Judicial Review of Administrative Agency Decisions) cover Judicial Review of administrative agency decisions. Maryland State Rules and Codes are available on-line from Maryland State Law Library (Click here to access the Library’s “Source of Maryland Laws” page and select “Maryland Rules and Procedures”).
Information about foreclosures can be found on the Maryland State Bar Association’s website.
Information about preventing foreclosure can be found on the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s HOPE (Home Owners Preserving Equity) program’s website or by calling them toll-free at 877-462-7555.
If you are a lawyer and are interested in providing foreclosure-related pro bono services, the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland is seeking volunteers.
50 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM