Maryland Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

Maryland 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

1. Introduction to Civil Procedure
– Civil Procedure governs the process and rules by which civil matters are litigated.
– Includes jurisdiction, pleading, discovery, pretrial motions, trial process, and appeals.

2. Subject Matter Jurisdiction (SMJ)
– Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
– Diversity Jurisdiction: Exists when the plaintiff and defendant are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
– Federal Question Jurisdiction: Cases that arise under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.

3. Personal Jurisdiction (PJ)
– The power of a court over the parties in the case.
– In Maryland, courts follow the International Shoe standard requiring minimum contacts with the state such that maintaining the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

Case: International Shoe Co. v. Washington
Issue: Whether International Shoe Co. had sufficient minimum contacts with the state of Washington to justify the state’s exercise of personal jurisdiction.
Rule: The Due Process Clause permits a state to assert jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant if they have minimum contacts with the state and jurisdiction is reasonable.
Analysis: International Shoe had salesmen in Washington, which were sufficient contacts for PJ.
Conclusion: Washington had PJ over International Shoe.

4. Venue and Forum Non Conveniens
– Venue refers to the geographical location where a lawsuit is to be tried.
– Maryland follows federal venue standards, which are typically based on where the defendant resides or where a substantial part of the events occurred.
– Forum non conveniens allows a court to dismiss a case if another court or forum is more appropriate and convenient for the parties.

5. Pleadings
– Complaint, Answer, Counterclaim, Cross-claim, and Reply are the fundamental pleadings.
– Maryland follows the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which require a short and plain statement of the claim in a complaint.

6. Motion Practice
– Pretrial requests made by the parties, such as Motion to Dismiss, Motion for Summary Judgment, and Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.

7. Discovery
– The process by which parties obtain information before trial.
– Includes depositions, interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admission.
– Maryland has its own rules regarding discovery but generally follows the federal model.

8. Pretrial Conference and Orders
– A conference to simplify the issues, plan the trial, and encourage settlement.
– Maryland Rule 2-504 outlines the timing, purposes, and consequences of pretrial conferences.

9. Trial Process
– Jury selection (voir dire), opening statements, presentation of evidence, closing arguments, jury instructions, and verdict.

10. Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel
– Res Judicata: Prevents relitigation of a claim that has been previously adjudicated.
– Collateral Estoppel: Prevents relitigation of an issue of fact or law that has been decided in a prior action.

11. Appeals
– The process of seeking a higher court’s review of a lower court’s decision.
– Maryland has specific rules for when and how appeals can be taken from trial courts to the Court of Special Appeals and to the Maryland Court of Appeals.

12. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
– ADR procedures like arbitration and mediation are encouraged to resolve disputes outside of court.
– Maryland courts support ADR through Maryland Rule 17-101, which establishes guidelines and policies.

13. Enforcement of Judgments
– Once a judgment is obtained, the winning party must enforce it.
– In Maryland, judgments can be enforced by methods such as writs of execution, garnishment, or liens.

14. Maryland-Specific Civil Procedure Considerations
– Maryland has unique laws and rules, such as the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure, that govern local practice.
– Maryland’s court structure includes the District Courts, the Circuit Courts, the Court of Special Appeals, and the Court of Appeals.
– Understanding how Maryland’s courts interpret and apply procedural rules is crucial for Maryland-specific civil litigation.

15. Federal vs. Maryland Civil Procedure
– While many of Maryland’s rules are similar to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, there are significant differences that a practitioner must be aware of.
– For example, discovery rules and summary judgment standards may vary.

16. Key Maryland Civil Procedure Cases
– Research and understand seminal Maryland civil procedure cases, which illustrate how Maryland courts address procedural issues.

This study guide provides an overview of important concepts, rules, and procedures relevant to civil litigation in Maryland. It is essential to review course materials, statutes, local rules, and case law to ensure a comprehensive understanding of Maryland civil procedure. Additionally, practical exercises, such as drafting pleadings or simulating court appearances, will help reinforce the concepts presented in this guide.

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