The District Court of Maryland is where the majority of cases get tried. From July 2010 to July 2011, there were 208,313 civil cases filed in the District Courts. In the same time, there were almost 55,000 contested bench (judge) trials. (See District Court Statistics). There are twelve districts and 34 courthouses. This court hears cases with damages from $0 to $5,000 (small claims court); and hears cases valued at $5,000.01 to $30,000. Importantly, if you file a case in the District Court for under $15,000, the case will be kept in District Court and the other party may not move it to the Circuit Court. Cases filed for $15,000 or more may be moved by the defendant to the Circuit Court.
The biggest advantages of having a case in District Court are:
- Timing: cases get to trial quicker than Circuit Court–often within six months of filing suit
- Timing: most cases last less than a day–usually 30 minutes to three hours
- Expense: cases filed in the District Court are usually cheaper to bring
- Discovery: depositions are not typically allowed in District Court
- Discovery: requests for production of documents and requests for admission of fact are not strictly allowed, but interrogatories are permitted
- 10-104/10-105: Live expert testimony as to the causal necessity of medical treatment, medical expenses, or other consequential damages is not required, so long as documentary evidence provides the necessary causal relationship