Rule 2-504. Scheduling Order

Below is the Maryland rule for scheduling orders. Let me summarize it very simply. The court will make a scheduling order. Follow it or you - and your client - might pay the consequences.

The Text of Maryland Rule 2-504maryland law
  1. Order required.
    1. Unless otherwise ordered by the County Administrative Judge for one or more specified categories of actions, the court shall enter a scheduling order in every civil action, whether or not the court orders a scheduling conference pursuant to Rule 2-504.1.
    2. The County Administrative Judge shall prescribe the general format of scheduling orders to be entered pursuant to this Rule. A copy of the prescribed format shall be furnished to the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.
    3. Unless the court orders a scheduling conference pursuant to Rule 2-504.1, the scheduling order shall be entered as soon as practicable, but no later than 30 days after an answer is filed by any defendant. If the court orders a scheduling conference, the scheduling order shall be entered promptly after conclusion of the conference.
  2. Contents of scheduling order.
    1. Required. A scheduling order shall contain:
      1. an assignment of the action to an appropriate scheduling category of a differentiated case management system established pursuant to Rule 16-202;.
      2. one or more dates by which each party shall identify each person whom the party expects to call as an expert witness at trial, including all information specified in Rule 2-402 (f) (1);.
      3. one or more dates by which each party shall file the notice required by Rule 2-504.3 (b) concerning computer-generated evidence;.
      4. a date by which all discovery must be completed;.
      5. a date by which all dispositive motions must be filed; and.
      6. any other matter resolved at a scheduling conference held pursuant to Rule 2-504.1.
    2. Permitted. A scheduling order may also contain:
      1. any limitations on discovery otherwise permitted under these rules, including reasonable limitations on the number of interrogatories, depositions, and other forms of discovery;.
      2. the resolution of any disputes existing between the parties relating to discovery;.
      3. a date by which any additional parties must be joined;.
      4. a specific referral to or direction to pursue an available and appropriate form of alternative dispute resolution, including a requirement that individuals with authority to settle be present or readily available for consultation during the alternative dispute resolution proceeding, provided that the referral or direction conforms to the limitations of Rule 2-504.1 (e);.
      5. an order designating or providing for the designation of a neutral expert to be called as the court's witness;.
      6. a further scheduling conference or pretrial conference date; and.
      7. any other matter pertinent to the management of the action.
Case Law on Scheduling Orders in Maryland
  • Naughton v. Bankier, 114 Md. App. 641, 653 (1997). In a Montgomery County premises liability case, the court found that, "While absolute compliance with scheduling orders is not always feasible from a practical standpoint, we think it quite reasonable for Maryland courts to demand at least substantial compliance, or, at the barest minimum, a good faith and earnest effort toward compliance." In this case, the defendant designated experts the day before trial.
  • Tobin v. Marriott Hotels, 111 Md. App. 566, 573 (1996). In a Montgomery County elevator tort case, the court overturned a sanctions award against Plaintiffs' counsel but noted that trial courts have a "right to insist on at least substantial, if not strict, compliance with their scheduling orders."

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