This is a head’s up primarily to other practitioners in Maryland.
I learned of several court rules at the MSBA Annual Meeting several weeks ago. In Circuit Court, complaints seeking more than $75,000.00 should not put the damage claim in precise numbers, but should state only that the damages sought exceed $75,000.00.
According to the discussions in the Court’s “Are You Smarter Than a Law Clerk?” session, the purpose of the new rule is to prevent some of the headline-grabbing mega-bucks demand numbers that aim at sensationalism and newspaper headlines, while focusing on whether a federal court exercising diversity jurisdiction could hear the case on removal.
Other new rules prohibit the disclosure of certain personally identifiable information as financial or medical account numbers, dates of birth, tax ID number or social security numbers. I wonder, however, whether the date of birth limit will cause problems with pleadings. How does one plead that a cause of action extends during a lack of majority for a minor without identifying a birth date? Similarly, obstetric malpractice cases would be difficult to draft without identifying a birth date of someone, as would some contested probate matters in complex estates, etc. The rule states that the information can be provided if there is a “legal obligation” to provide it, but that term begs the question itself. At a minimum, a court could waive or limit the application of this rule for good cause shown under an appropriate motion.