Circuit Court Discovery - Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my opposing party is not responding to my discovery requests? If the opposing party has not responded to your requests, follow up in writing to see when she expects to have responses. Give your opposing party reasonable time to respond after your request in writing. It is beneficial and expected by the Court that you participate in good faith discussions and grant an extension, if reasonable. Courts do not like to become involved in these disputes unless absolutely necessary.
If the opposing party still fails to respond within a reasonable time after your request, inform her that you will file a motion to compel with the court. A motion to compel asks the court to order the opposing party to respond to discovery by a certain date. These motions are typically acts of last resort, which you should save for when your opponent fails to respond to any of your requests. When filing a motion to compel, state specifically the relief you request and describe the steps that you have taken to attempt to resolve the discovery dispute on your own. The Maryland Rules require you to certify at the end of your motion that, after taking steps to resolve the discovery dispute, you were unable to reach an agreement with opposing party. The Rule requires you to include the date, time, and circumstances of each discussion or attempted discussion. Read the law: Md. Rule 2-431
What should I do if I feel my opposing party’s discovery responses are insufficient? If you have a good faith basis for believing the response is insufficient, send a letter to the opposing party explaining why you believe the response was insufficient and what additional information you are requesting. Give the party reasonable time to respond to your request. Sometimes the opposing party may respond that she believes the information requested is objectionable or that she does not have the information. You will have to decide whether you believe the information is truly objectionable or necessary.
If you feel that you are absolutely entitled to the information, inform your opposing party that you will file a motion to compel with the court. Once again, when filing the motion, state specifically the relief you are requesting and describe the steps that you have taken to attempt to resolve the discovery dispute on your own. Do not forget to include a certification of good faith attempts to resolve the dispute. Read the law: Md. Rule 2-431
Opposing party already knows the information she is asking me to provide, do I have to tell her? Yes, Md. Rule 2-402(a) states that “[i]t is not ground for objection that the information sought is already known to or otherwise obtainable by the party seeking discovery.” Thus, even if your opponent already knows the answer to a discovery request or can easily obtain the necessary information, you must still provide a response.
I mailed my opponent paper copies of my interrogatories and document requests. Now, he wants me to e-mail him copies in Word. Do I have to do it? Yes, you should. The answer to the question is in a Committee Note to Rule 2-401, which encourages parties to give each other discovery materials in an electronic format when it is requested.
Do I have to answer an interrogatory that calls upon me to answer legal questions? Yes, see Md. Rule 2-402(a).
What should I do if I think my opponent is just trying to embarrass or harass me through her discovery requests? Seek a protective order from the court as explained in Md. Rule 2-403.