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Civil Department
Civil Department

Location: Montgomery County Circuit Court, Room 107
Phone: (240) 777-9401
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

 
 

Types of Cases Handled by Civil Department:

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Basic Civil Procedures

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 Plan:

Filing of a Complaint

Filing your case with the Court initiates the Civil proceedings. See General Information Regarding Filing a Civil Case for additional information.

Serving the Other Party/Parties

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. See The Service Packet and Summons for additional information.

Scheduling Conference

Dates for the court proceedings are automatically set at the time of filing. At a Scheduling Conference, the involved parties adjust the proceeding schedule. At the Conference, the Judge may also order the parties to attempt to solve their disputes and participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Discovery and Investigation

During this 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.

Pretrial Motions

Up to a certain point of time (“Motion Filing Cutoff” date), the parties are allowed to request the court to take certain actions regarding the case, such as to dismiss the case, to enter summary judgment, etc., by filing motions. The Motion Filing Cutoff date varies by the complexity of the case. See the Civil Differentiated Case Management Plan for details.

Settlement/Pretrial Conference

Before the case goes to trial, the court convenes a meeting with the parties to explore the possibility of settling the case.

Trial

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 which 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.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

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.

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Things to Consider Before Filing a Civil Suit with the Court

Should this case go to court?

If you have a complaint about a business

Jurisdictions and Venues: Is Circuit Court the right place to file your case?

Statute of Limitations

Who can file?

Should this case go to court?

Consider, first, that taking a case to court can be an expensive way of solving your problem. In particular, if you sue and lose, the court may order you to pay the costs of the other party(ies), 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, when you compare possible alternatives to settlement, consider the cost of taking a case to court as opposed to the cost of each alternative approach. For more information about the possible ways to settle the dispute out of court and associated cost, consult your attorney.

If you have a complaint about a business

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 or check the information available from the following government agencies:

Consumer Protection Division (Maryland Attorney General, phone: 1-(888)-743-0023 (toll-free))
Office of Consumer Protection ( Montgomery County, phone: 240-777-3636)

Jurisdictions and Venues: Is Circuit Court the right place to file your case?

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 determine the appropriate court in which to file your case:

Statute of Limitations

In Maryland, most cases must be filed 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 not certain, consult your attorney.

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General Information Regarding Filing a Civil Case

Commencement

The Filing Fee

Case Information Report

The Service Packet and Summons

Instructions for Service

The rules for filing a civil case are in the Maryland Rules of Procedure, Title 2, Civil Procedure – Circuit Court (Chapters 100 through 600). Click here for the on-line Maryland Laws available from Maryland State Law Library.

Commencement

A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court. Again, 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 (initiated by) and the name and address of the Defendant (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, this should be stated at the end of your complaint and should be titled as such. The document must also be signed by the Plaintiff/person filing the case.

In addition to the original, one copy of the complaint must be provided for each defendant. You might also want to make a copy for your record.

The Filing Fee

$135.00 (check made payable to “Clerk of the Court”)

Case Information Report

A Case Information Report must be filed with the court when a complaint is filed. The form can be obtained from the Clerk of the Court, or available on-line from the Maryland Judiciary (click here for the form).

The Service Packet and Summons

Once your case is filed and docketed with the Clerk of the Court, the Clerk will generate the service packet which includes the summons, new case number, scheduling order and an additional copy of each document that must be provided by the Plaintiff at the time of filing.

The Clerk of the Court will mail the service packet to the Plaintiff or his/her counsel for service unless service by the Sheriff is requested.

Instructions for Service

The Summons can be served either by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office or by a private process server. YOU CANNOT SERVE THE DEFENDANT(S) YOURSELF.

If service is to be made in Montgomery County, you can request the Sheriff’s Office to serve your summons (and the other materials in the service packet) by filing a written request for the service along with the complaint. The service packet will be directly sent to the Sheriff’s Office for service. The fee for this is $40.00 for each service. This fee must be paid by check made payable to “Montgomery County Sheriff” at the time of filing.

You can also arrange to have a private process server serve the service packet. This could be done by either an adult aged 18 or older or by a private process company for a fee (see telephone directory under "Private Process Server"). Again, you cannot serve the Defendant(s) yourself. A private process company may be the best way to serve when the service needs to be made outside the County. Once your case is filed and docketed with the Clerk of the Court’s Office, the Clerk will mail the service packet for service to the Plaintiff.

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How to View and Copy Cases and Exhibits Filed in the Court

All court files are open to the public except those that have been sealed by a court order. Central Files, located in Room 117 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). The Circuit Court case number is required to request the court file. The indexes (individual and corporation from 1967 to the present) are located in the Central Files office.

You can request copies of papers in files from the Copy and Exhibit Room (Room 122b, Montgomery County Circuit Court). A fee for copying papers is $.50 per page. All Civil and Family case exhibits are housed in this office. The exhibits are open to the public except for cases sealed by order of court. The Circuit Court case number is used to request the exhibit.

Central Files
Location: Montgomery County Circuit Court, Rm 117
Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Copy and Exhibit Room
Location: Montgomery County Circuit Court, Rm 122
Hours: 8:30 am – 4:30 p.m.

 

You can also view docket information of any case filed in the State of Maryland except for sealed cases on-line at Maryland Judicial Case Search (Maryland Judiciary).

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General Information Regarding Administrative Appeals:

How to File a Petition for Judicial Review of Agency Actions or Decisions

Which agencies are covered under the Maryland Administrative Appeal Law?

What do I need to include in an Administrative Appeal Petition?

Is there a time limit to filing an Administrative Appeal Petition?

Filing fee

What will happen after filing a Petition for Administrative Appeal?

What will the court do at an Administrative Appeal Hearing?

Filing a Petition for Judicial Review of a decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commission

An Administrative Appeal is a petition to the Court to review an agency’s decision making process that yielded 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.

Which agencies are covered under the Maryland Administrative Appeal Law?

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))

What do I need to include in an Administrative Appeal Petition?

The following must appear in the caption of your Petition:

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.

Click here for the template of Administrative Appeal Petition in MS Word (Click here for its PDF file).

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.

Is there a time limit to filing an Administrative Appeal Petition?

Yes, generally, a Petition for Judicial Review of an agency decision or action must be filed 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).

Filing fee

$135.00 (check made payable to “Clerk of the Court”)

What will happen after filing a Petition for Administrative Appeal?

The filing party will receive a written notice from the agency named in the caption indicating the receipt of the Petition.

Record

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.

Memoranda

Within 30 days after the Clerk of the Court sends notice of the filing of the record, a memorandum describing the questions presented for review, facts important to the questions, and argument on each question. Within 30 days after service of the memorandum, any person and the agency involved in the Petition may file an answering memorandum in similar form. A reply memorandum may be filed within 15 days after service of an answering memorandum.

What will the court do at an Administrative Appeal Hearing?

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.

Filing a Petition for Judicial Review of a decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commission

Before filing a Petition for Judicial Review of a decision by the Workers’ Compensation Commission, a copy of the Petition must be served by first class mail on the Commission and each party of record in the proceeding before the Commission. A Certificate of Service must be filed 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”).

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Appeals

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. The appeal has to be made within 30 days after the final judgment is entered. The appeal is noted in the Circuit Court to 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: $110.00 (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

After the Circuit Court decision, if a party wishes to appeal the second time, a petition for a writ of certiorari must be filed with the Court of Appeals in Annapolis in a timely manner.

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Montgomery County Circuit Court
50 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM