Thursday, September 18, 2008

Maryland Practice: Civil Procedure Forms

While I get up to blogging speed, I might throw a few no-brainers out there. This is not a bad thing. With the volume of legal information out there, occasionally you need a refresher course in the basics.

I find one invaluable resource that I always rely upon when asked about Maryland forms is George Liebmann's Civil Procedure Forms of the Maryland Practice set. (Liebmann is, of course, one of the great scholarly minds of Maryland law.) This, of course, has examples of the standard and esoteric forms you will find in Maryland civil practice. If you are ever asked to write a motion you have never written before, like say a "Motion for Non-disclosure of Secret Processes on Deposition," this is the book that shows you how to do it (and with some helpful commentary to boot). If you don't own a copy, your local public law library or general public library (in Maryland of course) should have one available.

Posted by J Cannan

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Friday, September 12, 2008

PG County Added To Case Search

For those of you that missed this, Prince George's County recently added their records to the Maryland Judiciary Case Search. The FAQ page shows that the system now has civil dockets back to 1986 and criminal dockets back to 1982. Following the successful addition of Montgomery County dockets, Case Seach now includes dockets from every county in Maryland. Thanks to Carol Mundorf for this find!

Pleading Causes of Action, Fourth Edition

I just read that the Booker Prize Shortlist has been annouced and this reminded me of one book that really deserves a prize and that's Pleading Causes of Action in Maryland by James Archibald and the ubiquitous Paul Mark Sandler. We just got our brand, spanking new Fourth Edition from our friends at MICPEL. Pleading Casues of Action has a host of sample complaints for various causes of action that might bring you into court in Maryland. The new book has information on the Protection of Homeowners in Foreclosure Act, expanded materials on family law and coverage of important cases that came out last year. If you are practicing Maryland law, this is a book you need (as well as the Maryland Rules Commentary and Modern Maryland Civil Procedure)!

Posted by J. Cannan

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Researching Maryland Utility Companies

The Maryland Public Service Commission regulates public utilities in Maryland. Their site provides access to a tremendous amount of information. To find a regulated utility provider in Maryland, see this page. You can also search filings submitted by a particular company, although only relatively few of these are full text. Probably the best resource on they site, though, is the case search. Although the search is designed for a case number search, you can search by company name by entering a company into the "Enter Subject/Caption" box. Most of the case files are available online. The Administrative Docket link provides information on agency filings. Select either "Rulemaking," "Public Conference," or "Other." After selecting one of the items from the search result, scan the list of documents for the company you're interested in. Finally, you can also search the Commission Orders and Letter Orders by scanning the result list for your company of interest.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Searching For Maryland Court Documents

As most of us are now aware, searching for Maryland dockets is readily available through the Maryland Judiciary Case Search. However, what if you are searching for the actual documents (as opposed to simply the docket text) filed in a Maryland case (eg., complaints, motions, etc)? Is there a resource that provides that? The good news is that there are a couple of options available for this research; the bad news is that you'll have to pay for it. Lexis and Westlaw both have databases of MD trial court filings. In Westlaw, the database is Maryland Trial Court Filings (MD-FILING) and in Lexis the database is Maryland State Pleadings (MDPLDG). (You can also use Courtlink by selecting "Maryland Circuit Courts" in the Document Text Search option). Keep in mind that Westlaw sometimes attaches case documents to the docket sheet. For Maryland federal cases, in Westlaw use the Maryland State and Federal Trial Court Filings (MD-FILING-ALL) database and in Courtlink select "Maryland" and "US District Courts" in the Document Text Search option. Although full-text federal court documents are available through Pacer, Pacer does not allow you to search these documents. Outside of Lexis and Westlaw, you'll most likely have to call the court. Lexis and Westlaw also both offer Maryland briefs databases.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Searching Maryland State & Federal Cases-For Free

If you're looking to search 4th Circuit and Maryland State cases, consider using The Public Library of Law, or PLOL. Although Findlaw has offered the ability to search 4th Circuit cases both by party-name (select "4th Circuit" from the drop down menu) and by full-text for some time, the search functionality in Findlaw is limited and difficult to use. Using PLOL, you can search 4th Circuit cases back to 1950 and Maryland state appeals cases back to 1997. Simply click on the "Advanced Search" link and then select your court from the drop down menu. PLOL ranks your search results by relevance and bolds your search terms in the results list--making it easier to find your case on point. To view the full text of the case, you must register with the site, but registration is free. Note that Maryland Federal district courts are currently not available on PLOL.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Maryland Home Sales

The Baltimore Sun recently added this mashup of Maryland home sales. The page allows you to view a map of recent home sales. You can limit by zip code, price range, home type, and time frame. After zooming in, you can click on an individual home sale for more info. Note the caveat on the top of the page, though: not all home sales are represented here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Researching Maryland Legislative Histories

The key to effectively researching Maryland legislative histories is to first read a couple of articles by Mike Miller, the former director of the Maryland State Law Library: "Ghost Hunting: Searching For Maryland Legislative History" and "Deciphering The Codes: Researching Legislative History In Maryland." For bills going back to the mid 1990's, a large amount of information can be found online using the Maryland General Assembly site. Remember to check the Fiscal Note attached to the bill: this can be a key item in compiling a legislative history. A key piece of the puzzle not available online, though, are the bill files which contain the Committee Reports and testimony of those who supported the bill. For bills enacted between 1976 and 1995, you can find the bill files (on microfiche) at the Thurgood Marshall Law Library and at the University of Baltimore Law Library. For bill enacted outside of that period, you'll have to contact the Department of Legislative Services. As a courtesy, they'll email you one PDF copy of a bill file. After that you'll have to pay.