Civil Case Status due to COVID-19 Emergency
ON JUNE 8, 2020, THE COURT BEGINS PHASE II OF CHIEF JUDGE MARY ELLEN BARBERA’S GRADUAL PLAN TO RESTORE JUDICIARY FUNCTIONS. This statement provides important information on the status and handling of CIVIL/NON-DOMESTIC CASES in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City during Phase II and leading to the planned progression to Phase III on July 20, 2020.
FILING PAPERS. The Civil Division of Clerk’s Office remains closed to the public. Filing of papers in civil cases may continue to be done by mail or by delivery to the filing lockboxes available on business days from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Calvert Street and Fayette Street (ADA accessible) entrances to the Mitchell Courthouse. All packages for filing should be marked prominently on the envelope as EMERGENCY or NON-EMERGENCY to assist in giving priority to emergency matters. See Administrative Judge Carrión’s Updated Letter Regarding Processing of Filings/Need for Email Address. For emergency matters, the filing party also should contact either the Civil Assignment Office (410-333-3755) or Judge Fletcher-Hill’s chambers (410-396-6826) to direct attention to the matter.
TRIAL POSTPONEMENTS. As ordered by Chief Judge Barbera, jury trials will not resume until October 5, 2020 at the earliest. All civil jury trials scheduled to start through October 2, 2020 and the pre-trial conferences associated with them are canceled. The court is in process of rescheduling those trial dates to 2021, and the parties will receive notice of the new pre-trial conference and trial dates as they are scheduled.
Civil non-jury trials scheduled after July 20, 2020 may go forward on their currently scheduled dates, but they may be postponed inadvertently because of the difficulty identifying some non-jury matters. If you have a civil non-jury matter after July 20, 2020 that gets postponed, please contact the Civil Assignment Office (410-333-3755) to see if the trial date can be preserved or restored.
PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCES. As stated above, all pre-trial conferences associated with civil jury cases with trial dates through October 2, 2020 are canceled. The court will resume with status and settlement conferences in some selected cases by the end of June 2020. The court will notify the parties if they must appear. These status and settlement conferences will be done by conference call.
SCHEDULING ORDER MODIFICATIONS. As Administrative Judge Carrión has stated, see Updated Letter Regarding Processing of Filings/Need for Email Address, the court is aware of the impact the COVID-19 emergency is having on parties’ ability to proceed with discovery and to meet other scheduling order deadlines. There has not been a blanket extension or suspension of those deadlines, but the court will consider necessary modifications to scheduling orders once the court resumes more regular operations. For civil jury cases with a trial date through October 2, 2020, please do not file motions to modify scheduling orders now. Please wait until a new trial date has been assigned and then file a motion, if necessary, based on the new trial date.
REMOTE ELECTRONIC HEARINGS. Most hearings on the chambers and fast track dockets are being heard by telephone conference call pursuant to Maryland Rules 2-802 and 2-803. If a hearing is to be conducted in this way, the court will contact the parties with the conference call information.
CIVIL DISCOVERY MOTIONS. Pursuant to Administrative Judge Carrión’s Administrative Order 2020-07, all motions and responses concerning discovery matters in civil/non-domestic cases must be filed both virtually at firstname.lastname@example.org and physically either by mail or in the courthouse filing lockbox. The papers may have an electronic signature that complies with Maryland Rule 20-107 for signatures in MDEC jurisdictions. Administrative Order 2020-08. Please make sure these filings distinguish between emergency and non-emergency matters and that counsel’s email address, if any, is included in the signature block.
POSTPONEMENT COURT. Daily postponement court will resume on June 8, 2020 by telephone conference call. Please call the Civil Assignment Office (410-333-3755) well in advance of 1:45 p.m. to provide the information for a postponement request that otherwise would be presented at postponement court. That office will give instructions on when and how the matter will be heard.
FORECLOSURE CASES. Pursuant to Chief Judge Barbera’s June 3, 2020 Amended Administrative Order Lifting the Suspension during the COVID-19 Emergency of Foreclosures, Evictions, and Other Ejectments Involving Residences, all mortgage foreclosure and tax sale foreclosure actions involving residential property remain stayed until July 25, 2020. No foreclosure sales or evictions or ejectments involving residential property are permitted. Papers may be filed in these actions. New actions that are filed are stayed upon filing.