Current Civil Division Operations
By Order of Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty, the period of emergency operations for the Maryland Judiciary has ended as of April 4, 2022. As it has since March 7, 2022, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City is conducting all types of proceedings in civil/non-domestic cases, including civil jury trials. This statement provides important information on the manner in which proceedings are being conducted, including continued use of remote electronic proceedings.
FILING PAPERS. The Civil Division of the Clerk’s Office is open to the public. Use of the lockboxes in the Mitchell Courthouse for filing papers has been discontinued. When filing papers by mail or in person at the Clerk’s Office, it remains important to mark the envelope or the papers as EMERGENCY if the filing requires immediate attention. 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.
EMAIL ADDRESSES. Please note that Maryland Rule 1-311(a) requires counsel to include any email address counsel uses on any filed paper. This is essential to allow the Court to communicate by email when appropriate, including sending links for remote electronic proceedings. Unrepresented parties should also include an email address on filed papers.
POSTPONEMENT COURT. Daily postponement court is being conducted by remote electronic means. Please call the Civil Assignment Office (410-333-3755) well in advance of 1:45 p.m. to provide the information for the postponement request. That office will give instructions on when and how the matter will be heard.
REMOTE ELECTRONIC HEARINGS. Most hearings on the chambers and fast track dockets continue to be heard by remote electronic means pursuant to Maryland Rules 2-802 and 2-803 using Zoom for Government, subject to objections made under those rules. If a hearing is to be conducted in this way, the court will contact the parties with the conference call information.
CIVIL DISCOVERY MOTIONS. Administrative Order 2020-07 has been rescinded, and the virtual filing of civil discovery motions has been discontinued. All civil discovery motions must now be filed in paper form only with the Clerk’s Office, by mail or in person. Please continue to make sure these filings distinguish between emergency and non-emergency matters.
PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCES. All pre-trial settlement conferences and early neutral evaluation conferences are being conducted by remote electronic means using Zoom for Government.
CIVIL NON-JURY TRIALS are proceeding as scheduled. Trials will be conducted either in person or by remote electronic means, depending on the length and complexity of the trial.
CIVIL JURY TRIALS. Civil jury trials resumed on March 7, 2022, and are all conducted in person. Most cases will be reached for trial as scheduled, but priority is being given to older cases if a sufficient number of trial judges is not available.
SCHEDULING ORDER MODIFICATIONS. The Court is aware of the impact the COVID-19 emergency as had 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. The Court continues to consider scheduling order modifications either by motion or through status conferences. If counsel are filing a motion to modify the scheduling order, counsel are urged to seek consent of all parties to any proposed modification.
FORECLOSURE AND EJECTMENT CASES. Pursuant to Chief Judge Getty’s March 28, 2022, Final Amended Administrative Order on the Suspension during the COVID-19 Emergency of Foreclosures, Evictions, and Other Ejectments Involving Residences, mortgage foreclosure, tax sale foreclosure, and ground rent ejectment actions involving residential property that were filed before April 4, 2022, may proceed only upon filing of a Declaration of Exemption from Moratorium, as required by that Administrative Order. For such cases pending as of April 4, 2022, counsel are urged to review the Final Amended Administrative Order carefully to be certain that all necessary statements are included in any Declaration of Exemption. Except when filed and then served with the initial papers in an action, any Declaration of Exemption must include a complete certificate of service on all parties. A Declaration of Exemption is not required for cases filed on and after April 4, 2022.