Discovery

After we transfer to court your Maryland medical malpractice case the next step in the litigation process is for the circuit court to issue a scheduling order. Rule 2-504. Then, the parties will conduct discovery. The circuit court will issue the scheduling order within 30 days after the defendant files their answer. Rule 2-504(a)(3).

Scheduling Order

The scheduling order rule provides two categories of items – the court must include the first must be included and may include the second. The following are some of the items the court must put in the scheduling order:

  • Identify expert witnesses and provide required information under Rule 2-402(g)(1).
  • File notice concerning computer-generated evidence under Rule 2-504.3(b)
  • Discovery completion
  • Dispositive motions filed (no earlier than 15 days after completion of discovery).
  • Adding parties
  • Amending pleadings as of right.
File of medical malpractice case in discovery and judge's gavel.
Discovery

Discovery

We will then begin discovery in your case. The first thing we will usually do is send interrogatories and a request for documents to the defendant. Under Rule 2-421, we will send 30 interrogatories to each defendant. Interrogatories are written questions. Examples include asking for the identity of witnesses and documents and the factual basis for defenses. We also ask for information concerning defense experts. Additionally, we ask for information concerning the defendant’s employment and insurance. The defense must answer the interrogatories under oath within 30 days.

We will also send a request to produce documents to the defendant under Rule 2-422. The requests will include your medical records and any policies for your evaluation and treatment. We also request documents concerning many of the topics in the interrogatories. The defendant must respond within 30 days.

The defendant will also send you interrogatories and a request to produce documents. We will assist you in preparing the responses. We will already have your medical records and bills ready and will prepare the information concerning our expert witnesses. Suppose you lost income as a result of medical malpractice. In that case, we must gather records that reflect that loss, including employment or business records and tax returns.

The parties serve the discovery materials on the other side but do not file them with the court. Instead, the parties file a notice of service with the court. Rule 2-401(d)(2).

For discussions of Maryland cases involving discovery issues, read the Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog. The post on Hemstreet v. Caldwell deals with late designation of an expert witness.

Discovery Depositions

After the parties exchange interrogatory answers and documents, we will do depositions. Under Rule 2-411, in a deposition, a lawyer asks questions of a witness. The witness is allowed to have their lawyer present and participate by objecting to any improper questions and asking the witness any additional questions to clarify the given answers. A court reporter is present to administer an oath to the witness and to prepare a transcript of the questions and answers.

The lawyer must give notice of the scheduling of the deposition under rule 2-412.

When you are deposed, the subject of the questions will focus on the claims you are bringing. The other lawyer will ask about what happened and how it affected you. They will ask you about any communications with the defendant or other witnesses. They will also ask you general background information about yourself.

We will meet with you in advance of your deposition to prepare for it. We can anticipate the questions you will be asked and practice some of them with you. Our goal is for you to feel comfortable with the process so that when you go for your actual deposition, you will be prepared and confident.

In addition, the rules provide that if your mental or physical condition is part of your claim, the other side can arrange to have you examined by one of their experts. Rule 2-423.

After the lawyers on both sides conduct depositions of the parties and any other witnesses to the events, they will take the depositions of the other side’s expert witnesses.

Discovery Disputes

Rule 2-430 allows a party to seek a protective order from the court to prevent the discovery of information or documents that would be an annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.

If the parties dispute whether certain information or documents must be provided, the party seeking them can file a motion to compel under Rule 2-432. Before filing the motion, the filing party must also file a Rule 2-431 certificate describing the party’s good faith attempt to resolve the dispute.

There is another deadline shortly after the close of discovery. CJP 3-2A-06D(b) requires the parties to file supplemental CQEs within 15 days after the close of discovery. As a practical matter, the parties usually agree to waive this requirement and file a paper with the court documenting the waiver.

At this point, the parties have discovered all relevant information and documents, and the case moves into the resolution phase.

If you have questions or are ready to discuss your Maryland medical malpractice case, call the Kopec Law Firm now. You will speak directly with attorney Mark Kopec, not an assistant who did not go to law school like at the other firms. Attorney Kopec is a top-rated Maryland medical malpractice lawyer. You can contact him at 800-604-0704 for your free consultation.

Next Step

The next step is usually mediation after the parties have completed the discovery.

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