Md. R. Elec. Fil'g & Case Mgmt. 20-106

As amended through May 11, 2022
Rule 20-106 - When Electronic Filing Required; Exceptions
(a)Filers--Generally.
(1)Attorneys. Except as otherwise provided in section (b) of this Rule, an attorney who enters an appearance in an MDEC action shall file electronically the attorney's entry of appearance and all subsequent submissions in the action.
(2)Judges, Judicial Appointees, Clerks, and Judicial Personnel. Except as otherwise provided in section (b) of this Rule, judges, judicial appointees, clerks, and judicial personnel, shall file electronically all submissions in an MDEC action.
(3)Self-represented Litigants.
(A) Except as otherwise provided in section (b) of this Rule, a self-represented litigant in an MDEC action who is a registered user shall file electronically all submissions in the MDEC action.
(B) A self-represented litigant in an MDEC action who is not a registered user may not file submissions electronically.
(4)Other Persons. Except as otherwise provided in the Rules in this Title, a registered user who is required or permitted to file a submission in an MDEC action shall file the submission electronically. A person who is not a registered user shall file a submission in paper form.

Committee note: Examples of persons included under subsection (a)(4) of this Rule are government agencies or other persons who are not parties to the MDEC action but are required or permitted by law or court order to file a record, report, or other submission with the court in the action and a person filing a motion to intervene in an MDEC action.

(b) Exceptions.
(1)MDEC System Outage. Registered users, judges, judicial appointees, clerks, and judicial personnel are excused from the requirement of filing submissions electronically during an MDEC system outage in accordance with Rule 20-501.
(2)Other Unexpected Event. If an unexpected event other than an MDEC system outage prevents a registered user, judge, judicial appointee, clerk, or judicial personnel from filing submissions electronically, the registered user, judge, judicial appointee, clerk, or judicial personnel may file submissions in paper form until the ability to file electronically is restored. With each submission filed in paper form, a registered user shall submit to the clerk an affidavit describing the event that prevents the registered user from filing the submission electronically and when, to the registered user's best knowledge, information, and belief, the ability to file electronically will be restored.

Committee note: This subsection is intended to apply to events such as an unexpected loss of power, a computer failure, or other unexpected event that prevents the filer from using the equipment necessary to effect an electronic filing.

(3)Other Good Cause. For other good cause shown, the administrative judge having direct administrative supervision over the court in which an MDEC action is pending may permit a registered user, on a temporary basis, to file submissions in paper form. Satisfactory proof that, due to circumstances beyond the registered user's control, the registered user is temporarily unable to file submissions electronically shall constitute good cause.
(c) Submissions.
(1)Generally. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c)(2) of this Rule, the requirement of electronic filing in section (a) applies to all submissions that are capable of being converted into electronic format and that, in electronic form, may be converted into a legible paper document.
(2)Exceptions. Except with court approval, the following submissions shall not be filed electronically:
(A) A single document comprising more than 300 pages;

Committee note: A single document comprising more than 300 pages may be submitted electronically by dividing the document into shorter segments.

(B) Oversized documents, such as blueprints, maps, and plats;
(C) Documents offered as evidence in open court at a trial or other judicial proceeding pursuant to section (e) of this Rule;
(D) An item that is impracticable to be filed electronically because of the item's physical characteristics; and
(E) Any other category of submissions that the State Court Administrator exempts from the requirement of electronic filing.
(3)Required Retention of Certain Original Documents. Original wills and codicils, property instruments that have been or are subject to being recorded, and original public records, such as birth certificates, that contain an official seal may be scanned and filed electronically so long as the original document is maintained by the filer pursuant to Rule 20-302.

Cross reference: See Rule 20-204, which requires a registered user to file a "Notice of Filing Tangible Item under certain circumstances.

(d) Paper Submissions.
(1)Compliance With MDEC Rules.

A paper submission shall comply with Rule 20-201(h) and (k). If applicable, a paper submission also shall comply with Rule 20-201.1.

(2)Review by Clerk; Scanning.
(A) Except as provided in subsection (d)(2)(B) of this Rule, upon receipt of a submission in paper form, the clerk shall review the submission for the presence of a signature and for compliance with Rule 20-107(a) (1), Rule 20-201(g)a nd (k), and Rule 20-201.1. If the submission is in compliance, the clerk shall scan it into the MDEC system, verify that the electronic version of the submission is legible, and docket the submission. If the submission is not in compliance, the clerk shall decline to scan it and promptly notify the filer in person or by first-class mail that the submission was rejected and the reason for the rejection.

Committee note: The clerk's pre-scanning review is a ministerial function, limited to ascertaining whether any required fee has been paid (Rule 20-201(k)) ; the presence of the filer's signature; a certificate of service if one is required (Rule 20-201(g)) ; and whether a Notice Regarding Restricted Information is present, if required (Rule 20-201.1(a)) .

(B) Upon receipt of a submission in paper form that is required by the Rules in this Title to be filed electronically, the clerk shall (i) decline to scan the submission, (ii) notify the filer electronically, if possible, or otherwise by first-class mail, that the submission was rejected because it was required to be filed electronically, and (iii) enter on the docket that the submission was received and that it was not entered into the MDEC system because of non-compliance with Rule 20-106. The filer may seek review of the clerk's action by filing a motion with the administrative judge having direct administrative supervision over the court.

Committee note: Subsection (d)(2)(B) of this Rule is necessary to enforce the electronic filing requirement of Rule 20-106. It is intended to be used only when it is clear that the filer is a registered user who is required to file submissions electronically and that none of the exceptions in sections (b) or (c) of this Rule appear to be applicable.

(3)Destruction of Paper Submission. Subject to subsections (d)(4) and (e)(2) of this Rule, the clerk may destroy a paper submission after scanning it and verifying the legibility of the electronic version of it.
(4)Optional Return of Paper Document. The State Court Administrator may approve procedures for identifying and, where feasible, returning paper documents that must be preserved in their original form.
(5)Public Notice. The State Court Administrator shall provide public notice alerting the public to the procedure set forth in subsections (d)(2), (3), and (4) of this Rule.

Committee note: If submissions properly filed in paper form are to be destroyed by the clerk following their being scanned into MDEC, the public must be given reasonable notice of that policy. Notice may be given in a variety of ways, including on the Judiciary website, on on-line and pre-printed forms prepared by the Judiciary, on summonses or other notices issued by the clerks, and by postings in the clerks' offices.

(e) Exhibits and Other Documents Offered in Open Court.
(1)Exhibits.
(A) Generally. Unless otherwise approved by the court, a document offered into evidence as an exhibit in open court shall be offered in paper form. The document shall be appropriately marked.

Committee note: In a document-laden action, if practicable, the court and the parties are encouraged to agree to electronically prefiling documents to be offered into evidence, instead of offering them in paper form. Prefiling merely facilitates the offering of the document and does not constitute, of itself, an admission of the documents.

(B) Scanning and Return of Document. As soon as practicable, the clerk shall scan the document into the MDEC system and return the document to the party who offered it at the conclusion of the proceeding, unless the court orders otherwise. If immediate scanning is not feasible, the clerk shall scan the document as soon as practicable and notify the person who offered it when and where the document may be retrieved.
(2)Documents Other than Exhibits.
(A) Generally. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (e)(2)(B) of this Rule, if a document in paper form is offered in open court for inclusion in the record, but not as an exhibit, the court shall accept the document, and the clerk shall follow the procedure set forth in subsection (e)(1)(B) of this Rule.

Committee note: Examples of documents other than exhibits offered for inclusion in the record are written motions made in open court, proposed voir dire questions, proposed jury instructions, communications from a jury, and special verdict sheets.

(B) Certain Submissions by Registered Users. If a registered user offers a submission that requires prepayment of a fee, or an entry of appearance, whether or not a fee is required, in open court for inclusion in the record, but is not as an exhibit, the court may accept the submission conditionally, subject to it being electronically filed by the registered user. In criminal proceedings, the submission shall be filed by the end of the day that the submission was offered in court. In all proceedings other than criminal, the submission shall be filed no later than the end of the next business day after the submission was offered in court. If the registered user fails to file by the applicable deadline, the court may strike the submission.
(f) Pre-filing of Documentary Exhibits
(1) Applicability

This section applies to documents proposed to be offered into evidence at a scheduled hearing or trial in a circuit court. This section does not apply (A) to an exhibit attached to a pleading or other paper or (B) to a rebuttal or impeachment exhibit. If the trial is to be a virtual jury trial conducted pursuant to Rule 2-807, proposed exhibits shall be filed and handled in accordance with section (c) of that Rule.

(2) Generally

Proposed documentary exhibits in a pending action may be pre-filed in accordance with this Rule and, if directed by the court, shall be pre-filed in accordance with this Rule.

(3) Procedure

Unless otherwise directed by the court, the proposed exhibits shall be indexed, pre-numbered, and pre-filed with the clerk at least three days prior to the date of the scheduled hearing or trial and served on the other parties. The clerk shall enter on the docket that proposed exhibits were filed but those documents shall not be accessible until they have been offered into evidence.

Md. R. Elec. Fil'g & Case Mgmt. 20-106

This Rule is new.

Adopted May 1, 2013, eff. 7/1/2013. Amended Dec. 7, 2015, eff. 1/1/2016; 6/20/2017, eff. 8/1/2017; 4/9/2018, eff. 7/1/2018; amended June 29, 2020, eff. 10/1/2020; amended Feb. 9, 2022, eff. 4/1/2022.

HISTORICAL NOTES

2015 Orders

The December 7, 2015, order, corrected an internal reference in subsection (c)(2)(C), deleted references in section (d) to Rule 20-201(d), added the phrase "for the presence of a signature and to subsection (d)(2), and deleted an obsolete provision from subsection (d)(5).

2017 Orders

The June 20, 2017 order, deleted the word "affected and replaced it with the acronym "MDEC throughout the Rule; deleted from the Committee note after subsection (d)(2)(A) the language "and a certificate as to the absence or redaction of restricted information (Rule 20-201(f)(1)(B) ); added the language "if possible, or otherwise by first-class mail to subsection (d)(2)(B); and made stylistic changes.

2018 Orders

The April 9, 2018 order, added a Committee note following subsection (e)(1)(A), provided an alternative method of handling of a submission that requires prepayment of a fee, or an entry of appearance, whether or not a fee is required, offered in open court by a registered user for inclusion in the record but not as an exhibit, and made stylistic changes.