Rules For Depositions in Maryland Circuit Court Cases (2023)

Maryland Rule 2-402 Scope of Discovery

Unless otherwise limited by order of the court in accordance with these rules, the scope of discovery is as follows:

(a) Generally.

A party may obtain discovery regarding any matter that is not privileged, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter, if the matter sought is relevant1 to the subject matter involved in the action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other party.

It is not ground for objection that the information sought is already known to or otherwise obtainable by the party seeking discovery or that the information will be inadmissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

An interrogatory or deposition question otherwise proper is not objectionable merely because the response involves an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact.

Maryland Rule 2-415 (g) states:

g) Objections...An objection to the competency of a witness or to the competency, relevancy, or materiality of testimony is not waived by failure to make it before or during a deposition unless the ground of the objection is one that might have been obviated or removed if presented at that time2. The grounds of an objection need not be stated unless requested by a party. If the ground of an objection is stated, it shall be stated specifically, concisely, and in a non-argumentative and non-suggestive manner. If a party desires to make an objection for the record during the taking of a deposition that reasonably could have the effect of coaching or suggesting to the deponent how to answer, then the deponent, at the request of any party, shall be excused from the deposition during the making of the objection. (Emphasis added.)

Regarding this rule, the Committee noted:

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During the taking of a deposition, it is presumptively improper for an attorney to make objections that are not consistent with Rule 2-415 (g). Objections should be stated as simply, concisely, and non-argumentatively as possible to avoid coaching or making suggestions to the deponent and to minimize interruptions in the questioning of the deponent. Examples include "objection, leading;" "objection, asked and answered;" and "objection, compound question."

Under Maryland Rule 2-415 (h), “[w]hen a deponent refuses to answer a question, the proponent of the question shall complete the examination to the extent practicable before filing a motion for an order compelling discovery.” So…complete the deposition!

When asking about opinions or contentions, note: “An interrogatory or deposition question otherwise proper is not objectionable merely because the response involves an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact.” Maryland Rule 2-402(a).

Authority exists in Maryland for the proposition that you can ask a malpractice Defendant standard of care questions. In State v. Branin, 224 Md. 156, 167 A.2d. 117 (1961), the Court of Appeals allowed plaintiffs in a medical malpractice suit to question the defendant doctor in his capacity as a medical expert and regarding his specific role in the case.

Another useful source of guidance for depositions is The Discovery Guidelines of the Maryland State Bar Association. Although not officially part of the Maryland Rules or adopted or approved by the Court of Appeals, the preamble states that the Guidelines may be of significant value “in interpreting and applying Title 2, Chapter 400 of the Maryland Rules and are designed to eliminate unnecessary discovery disputes.”3 The pertinent Guidelines are set forth below:

Guideline 6: Assertions of Privilege at Depositions

Where a claim of privilege is asserted during a deposition and information is not provided on the basis of such assertion:

(a) The attorney asserting the privilege shall identify during the deposition the nature of the privilege (including work product) which is being claimed; and

(b) The following information shall be provided during the deposition at the time the privilege is asserted, if sought, unless divulgence of such information would cause disclosure of the allegedly privileged information:

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(1) For oral communications:

(i) the name of the person making the communication and the names of the persons present while the communication was made and, where not apparent, the relationship of the persons present to the person making the communication;

(ii) the date and place of the communication; and

(iii) the general subject matter of the communication.

(2) For documents, to the extent the information is readily obtainable from the witness being deposed or otherwise:

(i) the type of document, e.g., letter or memorandum;

(ii) the general subject matter of the document;

(iii) the date of the document; and

(iv) such other information as is sufficient to identify the document for a subpoena duces tecum, including, where appropriate, the author, addressee, and any other recipient of the document, and where not apparent, the relationship of the author, addressee, and any other recipient to each other;

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(3) Objection on the ground of privilege asserted during a deposition may be amplified by the objector subsequent to the deposition.

(c) After a claim of privilege has been asserted, the attorney seeking disclosure should have reasonable latitude during the deposition to question the witness to establish other relevant information concerning the assertion of privilege, including (i) the applicability of the particular privilege being asserted, (ii) circumstances which may constitute an exception to the assertion of the privilege, (iii) circumstances which may result in the privilege having been waived, and (iv) circumstances which may overcome a claim of qualified privilege.

Guideline 8: Deposition Questioning and Objections

(a) An attorney should not intentionally ask a witness a question that misstates or mischaracterizes the witness' previous answer.

(b) An attorney should not intentionally ask a witness more than one question at a time. To insist upon an answer to a multiple-part question after objection is presumptively improper.

(c) Objections in the presence of the witness which are used to suggest an answer to the witness are presumptively improper.

(d) An attorney should not question a deponent in such a manner as he knows or should know would serve merely to harass or annoy the deponent.

(e) An attorney for a deponent should not initiate a private conference with a deponent during the actual taking of a deposition, except for the purpose of determining whether a privilege should be asserted. To do so, otherwise, is presumptively improper.

(f) It is presumptively improper for an attorney to instruct a client not to answer a question at deposition unless:

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(1) There is a specific assertion of privilege in accordance with these guidelines,

(2) There is abusive conduct in the questioning of which this question is a part with a specific identification of why the instructing attorney believes this to be so, or

(3) The question is completely irrelevant or intended to embarrass the witness.

(g) If the attorney lodging an objection or instructing a witness not to answer believes that his objection or his instruction requires the assertion of facts or an explanation of the formal defect, which would in any way be instructive to the witness, then the witness should be excused while the objection or instruction is made.

Guideline 9: Objections at Depositions

Attorneys objecting to the form of the question at deposition are encouraged, if requested, to state the reason for the objection.

1 Compare with Maryland Rule of Evidence 5-401: “’Relevant Evidence’ means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.” Of course, this definition is necessarily more restrictive since it presupposes that the “evidence” has already been discovered.

2 For example, a failure to object to the admission of photograph at a deposition did not constitute a waiver of the objection since the ground of the objection could not have been removed. Nocar v. Greenberg, 210 Md. 506, 124 A.2d 757 (1956). A second example comes from Davis v. Goodman, 117 Md. App. 378, 700 A.2d 798, (1997). In Davis, Plaintiff’s counsel had objected at a de bene esse deposition to defense counsel’s questions of an expert witness because the questions were not phrased using reasonable degree of certainty (or probability) language. In so doing, defense counsel merely stated “objection.” Noting that other courts have called this an “objection to form,” (Id. at 397, 807) the Court found that these objections were waived because they were not made with specificity. The Court reasoned that the drafters of the Maryland Rules did not want litigants to be prejudiced by easily curable errors. Id. at 400, 808.

3 An earlier version of the Discovery Guidelines was approved by the Conference of Circuit Court Judges.

(Video) Deposition Misconduct by Attorney Witness


Can you answer I don't know in a deposition? ›

So what happens if you're in your deposition and you don't know the answer to a question, what happens, what do you do? That's perfectly acceptable and all you should say is “I don't know.” If you don't remember, you say, “I don't remember,” and that's in fact what you should do.

What can you not ask during a deposition? ›

You have a right to refuse any questions about a person's health, sexuality, or religious beliefs (including your own). The opposing attorney will have to explain how your answer has a direct bearing on the case in order to compel you to answer. Privileged information.

Can I write down the questions during a deposition? ›

Deposition by Written Questions: What to Ask

You just write down the questions, and the deponent answers them in writing on his or her own time. You can request the deponent for any information such as: Accounting records.

What is Maryland Rule 2 126 A? ›

Rule 2-126 - Process-Return (a) Service by Delivery or Mail. An individual making service of process by delivery or mailing shall file proof of the service with the court promptly and in any event within the time during which the person served must respond to the process.

What is the best way to answer deposition questions? ›

How to Handle a Deposition: Advice from an OMIC Defense Attorney
  1. Tell the truth. ...
  2. Think before you speak. ...
  3. Answer the question. ...
  4. Do not volunteer information. ...
  5. Do not answer a question you do not understand. ...
  6. Talk in full, complete sentences. ...
  7. You only know what you have seen or heard. ...
  8. Do not guess.

How do you beat a deposition? ›

9 Tips for a Successful Deposition
  1. Prepare. ...
  2. Tell the Truth. ...
  3. Be Mindful of the Transcript. ...
  4. Answer Only the Question Presented. ...
  5. Answer Only as to What You Know. ...
  6. Stay Calm. ...
  7. Ask to See Exhibits. ...
  8. Don't Be Bullied.

What are good deposition questions? ›

Deposition Preparation Questions
  • How did you prepare?
  • Did you speak to anyone besides your attorney? ...
  • What did you discuss during deposition preparation?
  • What documents pertaining to the case have you reviewed?
  • Did you meet with counsel for the opposing side prior to the deposition?

What type of questions can be asked in a deposition? ›

A deposition is a process whereby witnesses provide sworn evidence.
Basic Background Questions
  • What is your full name?
  • Have you ever used any other names? Maiden name?
  • Do you have any nicknames? What are they?
  • What is your date of birth? Where were you born?
  • What is your age?
  • What is your social security number?
22 Mar 2017

Can you plead the Fifth during a deposition? ›

Yes, you can plead the fifth in a civil trial or deposition. But, whether you should or should not do so is often an issue that requires you to waive certain risks and benefits. If you refuse to testify in a civil matter, there can be adverse consequences for the case.

What are 5 examples of deposition? ›

Deposition is the transition of a substance directly from the gas to the solid state on cooling, without passing through the liquid state. Examples: Camphor, Iodine, Ammonium Chloride, Naphthalene, etc. Q.

Can I use notes during a deposition? ›

You should not bring any notes, diaries, or other records to help you state your case during a deposition unless they have been thoroughly reviewed by your attorney. This is because any document you produce may be examined by the opposing counsel, and can potentially be used against you.

Can you say I don't know in court? ›

Lawyers may also tell witnesses that if they don't remember certain events, they can simply say “I don't recall.” In general, such instructions are not improper. A witness cannot, however, repeatedly answer “I don't recall” to avoid truthfully answering questions.

Does Maryland have alienation of affection? ›

In Maryland, there is also no legal action for alienation of affections. A couple with little hope of reconciliation may privately enter into an oral or written agreement to live apart. This is typically called a marital settlement agreement, separation agreement, or property settlement agreement.

What is constructive civil contempt Maryland? ›

As a recent Maryland Court of Special Appeals decision explained, the purpose of constructive civil contempt proceedings in family law cases is to pressure the non-performing party to comply with the order going forward, rather than punishing the party for a past violation.

Is Maryland a 50/50 custody State? ›

Shared physical custody does not require a 50/50 split of time. Generally, if parents have shared physical custody, it means that either parent was awarded 35% or more of the overnights. In Maryland, there is no rebuttable presumption in favor of shared custody–whether physical or legal.

How do you introduce yourself in a deposition? ›

Introduce yourself to the court reporter, present your card and indicate whom you represent, e.g., “My name is John Doe and I represent the Defendant Samsung.” At the beginning of the deposition, take a few minutes to give the witness a complete set of instructions.

What do you say at the beginning of a deposition? ›

  1. Ask the court reporter if s/he is ready.
  2. State in a loud, clear voice that the deposition is beginning.
  3. Identify by name and connection to the case, everyone who is in the room. ...
  4. Ask the notary public to swear in the witness.
  5. Ask the witness to state his or her name and spell it.

Who questions first in a deposition? ›

It is when one party questions the other party or a witness outside of court, under oath, so that the parties know what that person will say at trial. The parties or their attorneys have the ability to ask questions of the person being deposed. Usually the person who requested the deposition will ask questions first.

What do you say in a deposition? ›

Brief and concise answers are best. If you don't know the answer, “I don't know” is a perfectly good answer. Don't guess, speculate, or play a hunch. A deposition is sworn testimony; only say what you know to be true.

How long is a normal deposition? ›

Without knowing the details of your case, the only honest answer a lawyer can give to this question is your deposition will take between 15 minutes and 4 hours, on average, depending on a variety of facts.

How do you calm nerves for a deposition? ›

Many people are nervous or even afraid of being deposed.
What follows are some useful tips that I give to my clients to prepare them for their deposition.
  1. Always tell the truth. … ...
  2. Keep calm. ...
  3. Take your time. ...
  4. Remember the transcript. ...
  5. Be polite. … ...
  6. Don't answer a question if you don't understand it.
20 Jul 2015

Do you have to answer irrelevant questions in a deposition? ›

The deponent is only obligated to answer the questions that are asked, and no more. The deponent is not required to attempt to find the truth, nor settle the case.

What is most likely to happen during deposition? ›

Moving of small rocks and sediment. Settling of rock pieces in new locations.

Can pleading the Fifth be used against you? ›

The Difference Between Asserting the Privilege Against Self-Incrimination in a Criminal Investigation Versus in a Civil Case. In criminal cases, you are allowed to “plead the Fifth” and stay completely silent and it cannot be used against you.

In what circumstance can you not plead the Fifth? ›

An individual can only invoke the Fifth Amendment in response to a communication that is compelled, such as through a subpoena or other legal process. The communication must also be testimonial in nature. In other words, it must relate to either express or implied assertions of fact or belief.

Can you answer any questions if you plead the Fifth? ›

The 5th Amendment protects individuals from being forced to testify against themselves. An individual who pleads the 5th cannot be required to answer questions that would tend to incriminate himself or herself. Generally, there is no penalty against the individual for invoking their 5th Amendment rights.

What are the 4 factors that affect deposition? ›

The factors that determine the deposition of sediments are the length of the rivers, volume of water, amount of sediments, and the slope of the river and the earth's surface.

What is a good example of deposition? ›

The most typical example of deposition would be frost. Frost is the deposition of water vapour from humid air or air containing water vapour on to a solid surface. Solid frost is formed when a surface, for example a leaf, is at a temperature lower than the freezing point of water and the surrounding air is humid.

What are three causes of deposition? ›

Wind, ice, water, and gravity transport previously weathered surface material, which, at the loss of enough kinetic energy in the fluid, is deposited, building up layers of sediment.

Are personal notes discoverable? ›

There is no exception, however, for personal e-mails, correspondence or notes. "If those documents are relevant to the subject matter of the litigation, and do not fall within a privilege, such as the attorney-client privilege, they are discoverable," says DeMeo.

How stressful is a deposition? ›

Potentially one of the highest pressure, highest stakes public speaking situations is on the witness stand in a courtroom or during a deposition. Even the most experienced witnesses can feel anxiety, which left unaddressed can hinder their testimony.

Is deposition preparation privileged? ›

These types of discussions have the potential to affect or change the witness's testimony and are not privileged.

What do you say and not say in a deposition? ›

The Seven Do's and Don'ts of Depositions
  1. Be prepared with the facts. Witnesses can prepare to win or prepare to fail.
  2. Tell the truth. Do not lie. ...
  3. Take your time. ...
  4. Answer “yes” or “no” if that fits the question. ...
  5. Answer one question at time. ...
  6. Anticipate questions. ...
  7. Request a break.

What do you say in court when you don't want to answer? ›

"I'm sorry but I'm not able to speak to that subject" "Thanks for asking but I'm not able to answer that question" "I'm sorry but that information is proprietary"

Can words be used against you in court? ›

Anything you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer with you during questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.

What is the Hicks rule in Maryland? ›

Trial must occur within 180 days of the earlier of counsel's appearance or the defendant's initial appearance in the Circuit Court. This is known as the Hicks date. While the Hicks rule is clear on its face, the rule may be waived upon a showing of good cause to continue a trial date beyond 180 days.

Can you sue for emotional distress in Maryland? ›

Pain and suffering is one of the types of non-economic damages you can recover in a personal injury case. Pain and suffering includes the physical, mental, and emotional distress that you may go through as a result of your injury.

Does Maryland favor the mother? ›

Maryland law presumes that both natural parents are the natural custodians of their children. The law does not favor either the mother or father.

What is constructive desertion in Maryland? ›

Constructive desertion: One spouse's behavior is so harmful to the other's physical or mental well-being that he or she is forced to leave the marriage to preserve his or her health, safety, or well-being.

What is the penalty for contempt of court in Maryland? ›

The penalties for contempt of court are relatively minor when compared to other civil and criminal charges. Even lawyers are threatened with contempt of court by certain judges from time to time. You may have to pay a small fine and/or be sentenced to a bit of jail time at the most.

What are the elements of breach of contract in Maryland? ›

Proving Breach of Contract Claim

The other party failed to perform according to the terms of the contract. The other party stated it has no intention of fulfilling its obligations under the contract. The other party made it impossible for you to perform your obligations under the contract.

At what age can a child refuse visitation in Maryland? ›

From the age of 16, children generally get to make their own decisions about where they're going to spend their time. This can be regardless of what the court decided previously.

At what age can a child make custody decision in Maryland? ›

Maryland is one of many states that allow a child to weigh in with their preferences at 16 years of age. It also allows children 16 years and older to petition the court for a change of custody if they're not happy with the arrangement ordered in the initial decree.

What do judges look for in child custody cases in Maryland? ›

The judge will consider whether someone shows signs of fitness to be a parent/guardian including criminal past, time availability, mental stability, financial fitness, and more. Maryland courts examine a wide range of indicators that someone may be fit or unfit for caregiving.

Can I refuse a being deposed? ›

If a party wishes to depose a particular individual, he or she must issue a subpoena form which requests the individual's attendance at the deposition. The individual may choose not to attend, although failure show up at this proceeding could result in fairly serious consequences.

What to expect when you are deposed? ›

When you are deposed, you will be brought into a room with attorneys from both sides, sworn in, and a court reporter will record every word you say as you are grilled by lawyers. You will be asked to recall minute details regarding an incident that might have happened months ago.

How do you answer a question without incriminating yourself? ›

Remember, no matter what happens, even if the officer says you are being detained or arrested, you don't have to answer any questions. Simply say that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent and say nothing more. If pushed to talk, repeat the same answer.

What can be asked in a deposition? ›

A deposition is a process whereby witnesses provide sworn evidence.
Basic Background Questions
  • What is your full name?
  • Have you ever used any other names? Maiden name?
  • Do you have any nicknames? What are they?
  • What is your date of birth? Where were you born?
  • What is your age?
  • What is your social security number?
22 Mar 2017

What are the three types of depositions? ›

There are three different types of depositions: depositions upon written interrogatories, depositions upon oral examination, and depositions from video-recorded statements.

Can you plead the Fifth if subpoenaed? ›

An individual can only invoke the Fifth Amendment in response to a communication that is compelled, such as through a subpoena or other legal process. The communication must also be testimonial in nature. In other words, it must relate to either express or implied assertions of fact or belief.

Should I be nervous during a deposition? ›

Absolutely. The fact that you feel nervous about your deposition is a good thing. This part of the case is important and being nervous or concerned shows that you care about how you do. And a successful deposition is simply one where you tell the truth on each answer you give to each question asked.

How long do most depositions last? ›

Without knowing the details of your case, the only honest answer a lawyer can give to this question is your deposition will take between 15 minutes and 4 hours, on average, depending on a variety of facts.


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