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Brent Blanchard
Brent Blanchard, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  Thirteen years of business law experience, from business formation to litigation
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Discovery in Maryland. If there are 2 plainitffs in the lawsuit-

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Discovery in Maryland.
If there are 2 plainitffs in the lawsuit- how many questions can be asked of each for Interrogatories and how many requests of documents for each plaintiff?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Brent Blanchard replied 7 years ago.
Unless you get leave (permission) granted by the court, Maryland's Rules of Civil Procedure limit you to 15 questions to any party.

Rule 3-421. Interrogatories to parties.

[stuff omitted...]

(b) Availability; number; time for filing.- Any party may serve written interrogatories directed to any other party. Unless the court orders otherwise, a party may serve only one set of not more than 15 interrogatories to be answered by the same party. Interrogatories, however grouped, combined or arranged and even though subsidiary or incidental to or dependent upon other interrogatories, shall be counted separately. Each form interrogatory contained in the Appendix to these Rules shall count as a single interrogatory. The plaintiff may serve interrogatories no later than ten days after the date on which the clerk mails the notice required by Rule 3-307 (d). The defendant may serve interrogatories no later than ten days after the time for filing a notice of intention to defend.

Requests for Documents are another matter. Maryland's rule is different from others I've encountered, and on the one hand seems to have no limit, but also references the Interrogatories (same rule, different subsection):

(3) Request for documents by interrogatory.- A party by interrogatory may request the party upon whom the interrogatory is served to attach to the response or submit for inspection the original or an exact copy of the following:

(A) any written instrument upon which a claim or defense is founded;

(B) a statement concerning the action or its subject matter previously made by the party seeking discovery, whether a written statement signed or otherwise adopted or approved by that party, or a stenographic, mechanical, electrical, or other recording, or a transcription thereof, that is a substantially verbatim recital of an oral statement made by that party and contemporaneously recorded; and

(C) any written report, whether acquired or developed in anticipation of litigation or for trial, made by an expert whom the responding party expects to call as an expert witness at trial. If the responding party fails to furnish a written report requested pursuant to this subsection, the court, upon motion of the discovering party, may enter any order that justice requires, including an order refusing to admit the testimony of the expert.

Most states don't actually have a limit for document requests. However, pretrial management orders or discovery plans OFTEN put a limit on them.

Thank you.

BB.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for your answer but I should have been more specific- the case is a circuit court not district court. and if there are two plaintiffs is that considered to be one party? or is each plaintiff a party?
Expert:  Brent Blanchard replied 7 years ago.
Two plaintiffs are considered one party if their interests are aligned in common claims. Damages sustained from the same wrongful act, for example. A group of people injured by a restaurant roof caving in--their injuries are separate, but the same acts or omissions by the defendant(s) trace to the same common event.

However, multiple plaintiffs should be allowed their own separate sets of discovery requests if they are co-plaintiffs who have independent claims representing different interests in what can be called from one perspective "joinder" claims (the injured pedestrian and the city whose fire hydrant was run over in the same accident for different interests, or two separate investors whose damages from a dishonest broker involved different frauds on different days involving different bogus investments).

The Circuit Court allows 30 Interrogatories:

Rule 2-421. Interrogatories to parties.


(a) Availability; number.- Any party may serve written interrogatories directed to any other party. Unless the court orders otherwise, a party may serve one or more sets having a cumulative total of not more than 30 interrogatories to be answered by the same party. Interrogatories, however grouped, combined, or arranged and even though subsidiary or incidental to or dependent upon other interrogatories, shall be counted separately. Each form interrogatory contained in the Appendix to these Rules shall count as a single interrogatory.



Like most states I'm familiar with, there is no limit on the number of requests for production. Though most often called requests for production of documents, please note that this right in discovery extends to inspection of things other than documents. For example, because a plaintiff's medical condition is at issue in a personal injury case, the defendant(s) can ask for a defense medical examination. All those rules about confidentiality of medical information are suspended with the medical condition is part of the legal fight.

Thank you.

BB.

Edited by Brent Blanchard on 1/10/2010 at 6:11 AM EST
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