Maryland rules of civil procedure lays down the rules that should be followed by Maryland state courts. The rules govern civil actions. The rules are promulgated for the smooth and efficient functioning of state courts. In Maryland a civil action commences with the filing of a complaint. The court clerk will fix the date and time for trial of the action. Party who commences the action is called the plaintiff, and the opposite party is called the defendant. A civil action can be classified into various stages that include: pleading stage, discovery stage, trial stage, and judgment stage. According to Rule 3-101, once a complaint is filed, the court clerk will issue the required summons to the defendant(s).
Different types of pleadings in Maryland courts are: complaint, counter claim, cross claim, third party complaint, and notice of intention to defend against any counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party complaint. A complaint should be filed by the real party in interest. An individual under disability can sue by a guardian or other like fiduciary or by next friend, subject to any court order for the protection of that individual. A minor under the custody of one of its parents, that parent has the exclusive right to sue on behalf of the minor for a period of one year following the accrual of the cause of action. If the custodial parent fails to institute suit within the one year period, any person interested in the minor have the right to institute suit on behalf of the minor as next friend by mailing notice to the custodial parent. A next friend of a minor can settle the claim in any suit. If the next friend is not a parent or person in loco parentis of the minor, the settlement is subject to the approval of each living parent or person in loco parentis. If (1) both parents are dead and there is no person in loco parentis of the child or (2) one of the parents does not approve the settlement, the settlement is subject to the approval by the court.
Parties may obtain discovery by written interrogatories; deposition upon oral examination or written questions under Rule 3-401 (Chapter 400 of Title 2). Discovery material includes notice of deposition, objection to the form of a notice of deposition, questions for a deposition upon written questions, objection to the form of the questions for a deposition upon written questions, a deposition transcript, interrogatories, and a response to interrogatories.
A party can move for judgment on any or all of the issues in any action at the close of the evidence offered by an opposing party. The moving party must state specifically all reasons why the motion should be granted. A judgment is passed after trial. Generally, cost of litigation is adjudged to the prevailing party.