The Circuit Court for Prince George's County realizes that on almost all occasions in which the Bar sees the above-referenced phrase it seems as if the Court is looking for lawyers to do something for somebody else for nothing. Contrary to that view, this notice is a gentle reminder to the Bar to comply with our existing Scheduling Orders in all respects but especially as to PreTrials.
The Court's Scheduling Orders provide in pertinent part that "At least five (5) days prior to the PreTrial date" the Parties must "file a statement in full compliance with Rule 2-504.2." Increasingly, members of the Bar are failing to file PreTrial Statements at all, filing pro forma or non-responsive PreTrial Statements that fail to comply with Rule 2-504.2 and invariably fail to file the PreTrial Statements at least five (5) days prior to the scheduled PreTrial date. Compliance with this provision is not optional.
The Scheduling Order goes on to provide that "The parties or a claims representative for a Defendant must appear at PreTrial," unless excused, in advance by the Court.
Pretrials are not solely designed to determine the number of witnesses, days of trial, etc., but also represent the Court's last opportunity to be of assistance to the Parties in resolving the dispute. Therefore, the Parties, counsel and the insurance carrier representative, where appropriate, must comply with the Court's Scheduling Orders with respect to their presence at the PreTrial. In addition, the Parties should attend the PreTrial with a view towards investing sufficient time to reaching a settlement if at all possible.
Hopefully this brief reminder will result in better compliance with the Court's existing Scheduling Orders which also ominously provide that "Failure to comply with each of the above requirements may result in the imposition of sanctions and the Court may decline to schedule a trial date at the PreTrial Conference."
This "Pro Bono Publico" message is intended to assist the bar in complying fully with Rule 2-504.2 thereby avoiding unpleasant consequences that will result from continual non-compliance.
William D. Missouri
County and Circuit