Late last year, the Maryland Court of Appeals decided yet another “Should we shoot for justice or dwell on the hypertechnical?” case in Lisy Corp v. McCormick and Co. The court went the wrong way.
Here, the Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in Howard County alleging both tort and contract claims. When you file a lawsuit in Maryland, you fill out a Case Information Report (“CIR”) to serve on the Defendant. A CIR is a three-page administrative form that helps the court process cases. The court is looking to find out things like the nature of the claim and the amount of damages that are sought and, most germane to this case, whether the Plaintiff is seeking a jury trial.
Maryland Rule 16-202(b) makes it abundantly clear that the purpose of the CIR is only case management by the court. But it is also undisputedly a clear intention by the Plaintiff to seek a jury trial.
The Plaintiff’s attorney asked for a jury trial in the CIR but neglected to file a separate document as required by the rules requesting a jury trial. So the question in the case is whether a CIR is an acceptable vehicle for demanding a jury trial under Maryland law.