Maryland Trial Courts Generally
Statute of Limitations
Selected Immunities
Insurance
Selected Theories of Liability
Children: Claims, Liabilities and Related Issues
Animals
Compensatory Damages for Bodily Injury
Punitive Damages
Survival Actions and
Wrongful Death Actions
Maryland Uniform Contribution Among Joint Tortfeasors Act

 

Law Summary

I. MARYLAND TRIAL COURTS GENERALLY

The trial courts of the state of Maryland consist of the Circuit Court and the District Court. Each of Maryland's twenty-three (23) counties as well as Baltimore City is served by a Circuit Court and a District Court. The rules governing civil practice in the Circuit Court are set forth in Title II of the Maryland rules. The rules governing civil practice in the District Court are found in Title III of the Maryland rules. While the procedural rules of the two courts are quite similar, there are some significant differences. A discussion of these differences is beyond the scope of this summary which will be limited to the following comment on the subject of jurisdiction.*

  1. Jurisdiction

    1. The Maryland District Court is a non-jury court of limited jurisdiction.

    2. Section 4-401 of the Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code Annotated provides that the District Court has exclusive original jurisdiction in a tort action if the "damages claimed do not exceed $30,000, exclusive of attorney's fees if attorney's fees are recoverable by law or contract."

    3. Concurrent jurisdiction: Section 4-402(d) of the Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code Annotated provides that the District Court shares jurisdiction with the Circuit Court in all civil tort claims where the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000.

    4. Small Claim: The District Court has exclusive jurisdiction over matters in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $5,000. Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code Annotated 4-405. The Maryland Rules of Evidence do not apply in small claims cases. MRE 5-104(e).

    5. Entitlement to Jury Trial: The Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code Annotated, at
      4-402(e) provides as follows:

      1. In a civil action in which the amount in controversy exceeds $10,000, exclusive of attorney's fees if attorney's fees are recoverable by law or contract, a party may demand a jury trial pursuant to the Maryland rules.

*The practice and procedure in the District Courts of Maryland as well as a consideration of the relative benefits of defending a claim in that court are the subject of a separate summary which will be provided as a courtesy upon request.

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