FAQ for Attorneys

In addition to these general questions and answers concerning the project, there are additional FAQs for the Public. Maryland Rules can be found here.

 

Which counties are live on MDEC?
Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester.

Is e-filing mandatory?
Yes. Pursuant to MD Rule 20-106, attorneys must file electronically except as otherwise provided in section (b) of the rule.

If an attorney files or makes a request in paper in an MDEC jurisdiction, the rules require that the filing/request should be rejected by the clerk. The attorney filing requirement applies to all attorneys, whether or not they are admitted in Maryland. Additionally, if an attorney wishes to request a Maryland subpoena based on a foreign subpoena, the attorney must register on the Odyssey File and Serve site and make that request electronically.

How do I know the effective date of the county implementations?
The MDEC start dates for each jurisdiction are established by administrative order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals as posted on the Judiciary website at mdcourts.gov.  (See Rule 20-101(o)).

Is electronic filing required in cases that were started in paper before a county's MDEC start date? 
If a case exists in paper on the MDEC start date, attorneys are required to file into the case electronically as of the MDEC start date.  If a case is closed on the MDEC start date, but is reopened on or after the MDEC start date, filings by attorneys are required to be electronic. For closed cases that are reopened, the rules permit the court to convert the original documents into an electronic format if the court determines conversion to be appropriate.

Is the Judiciary considering charging those who don't e-file, a charge for not using the system?
No.

Will an attorney (or party to the case) be able to remotely view a case file?
Pursuant to Rule 20-109 and subject to any protective order issued by the court or other law, parties and attorneys of record, in an MDEC action, shall have full access including remote access, to all case records in that action. To obtain access, parties and attorneys are required to register to receive this access. Cases in MDEC counties will be electronically available to the public at a clerk’s office to the same extent that that case would have been available in paper. Case Search will continue to provide online access to certain case information. The information that is available to the public is governed by Title 16, Chapter 900 of the rules as well as legislation, e.g. House Bill 1336 of the 2020 session; House Bill 83 and Senate Bill 314: 2020 Regular Session.

How will the system work if the public wants to see an electronic record/case?
Each court house has a public kiosk where publicly available court records may be viewed.

Will the MDEC system notify attorneys of the fact that something has been filed in their cases?
Attorneys of record in an MDEC action and filers who are entitled to notice are required to provide service contact information in Odyssey File and Serve at the time that they initiate their first filing in an MDEC action.  If other persons in a case are entitled to service under the rules and the filer selects “file and serve,” the MDEC system will notify all parties that are eligible for electronic service of the filing. A party that is self-represented and has not elected to file electronically must be served in paper. 

How do you foresee a paper summons being served on a defendant? Would a sheriff still serve?
Initial pleadings and any documents required by rule or statute to be served by a sheriff must still be served by the sheriff in paper form.  

What computer resources are required to e-file?
Electronic filing requires internet access and a word processor capable of creating pdf documents.  A scanner is necessary to file documents that are not prepared by the filer using a word processor. 

How will the new case management change the way different Courts communicate with each other?
The new case management system will provide a single solution for Appellate, Circuit and District Courts that will facilitate electronic communications of case information between the aforementioned court levels.  For the first time, courts in different counties will communicate in the same system.

Will transcripts still be available for appeals? Will transcripts and recordings be part of the Case Management System?
Transcripts will still be available for appeals.  Transcripts and recordings will most likely remain with the various recording systems that are in use by the courts today.  

Prior to MDEC, if someone wanted to review a case from two years ago, it would take the clerk a long period of time (days or weeks) to retrieve the record. Will the record be available electronically in the new system and even though the record would be aged, might the opportunity exist to pull it electronically?
Cases that were closed at the time a county became an MDEC county will remain in paper. However, previously filed documents in cases that are reopened may be scanned and made electronic at the discretion of the courts (See Rule 20-102).  The record will not be available electronically unless the case is reopened and the court deems it appropriate to convert all or part of the paper record.

How would an attorney sign a motion?
The submission shall be signed in accordance with Rule 20-107 and Rule 20-201. Documents other than an affidavit may be signed using a typographical signature or facsimile signature. A typographical signature is “/s/ Jan Doe, 123 Happy St., Anywhere, MD 20111.” A facsimile signature is a scanned image or other visual representation of the signer’s handwritten signature together with the signer’s typed name.  If not required by the definition of a signature, an electronically filed document must include a signature block that contains the following typed information about the filing user:

  • Firm name if applicable (optional)
  • Firm address
  • E-mail address
  • Telephone number
  • Responsible attorney’s Attorney Identification Number

How does the private processor receive the service document? Will it be in a paper format?  
Private process servers are only needed for documents that are required to be served in paper. Private process servers will continue to receive paper documentation from the filer as they do today.  

Who is overseeing the project?
The project is being overseen by the Major Projects Executive Steering Committee (“MPC”). The MPC is a subcommittee of the Court Technology Committee.  The Chief Judge of the District Court is the chair of the MPC.  The State Court Administrator is a member of the MPC.

Will I be able to submit exhibits during trial?
Unless otherwise approved by the court, a document offered into evidence or otherwise for inclusion in the record in open court shall be offered in paper form. If the document is offered as an exhibit, it shall be appropriately marked. (See Rule 20-106(e)).

How are you planning to deal with redacting and confidentiality?
It is the responsibility of the filer to:

1. Notify the clerk that an entire document may not be subject to public access by marking the document as restricted and filing a notice as required by Rule 20-201.1 and;

2. Redact any restricted information from public documents and provide unredacted copies for the court and parties where necessary.  

If the filer believes that restricted information is necessary to be included, the filer shall state the reason and legal basis for including the restricted information, and file both an unredacted version and redacted version of the document (See Rule 20-201).  E-filing functionality exists to apply an appropriate security group to electronically filed documents to control access. 

What are the reasons for rejecting a filing?
The clerk is required to strike (reject) a filing that is not properly signed or which does not contain a certificate of service. (See Rule 20-203(c)).  Additionally, if a submission is submitted in paper that is required to be electronically filed, the clerk may not scan the submission and will reject the submission because it was required to be electronically filed.  (See Rule 20-106(d)(2)(B)).

What happens if the system goes down?
The MDEC system has two components—the electronic filing system and the case management system.  The electronic filing system is that system that transmits electronic filings to the courts for review and inclusion in the electronic case management system.  

If the State Court Administrator determines that the electronic filing system is not capable of receiving and storing filings, the administrator is required to declare an MDEC system outage and to notify each registered user by posting an MDEC outage notice on the Judiciary website or by other electronic means.  The notification will contain the date and time of the onset of the outage. (See Rule 20-501(a)).  If an outage is declared, the State Court Administrator will also publish an outage termination notice stating the date and time of the termination of the outage. If an MDEC system outage is declared by the State Court Administrator, the time to file a submission electronically that is due on the day the outage is declared is automatically extended until the first full day, other than a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, that the outage termination is posted. (See Rule 20-501(b)).  If an MDEC system outage is declared, the filer chooses, and the relevant court is open, the filer may file in paper (See Rule 20-501(b)(2)).