Rules Order Issued Amending the Motion for Summary Judgment Rule

On March 2, 2015, the Court of Appeals issued a Rules Order amending the Motion for Summary Judgment Rule (Md. Rule 2-501). Before the amendment, the rule permitted the making (written or oral) of a motion for summary judgment, at essentially any time during the proceeding, even after any deadline imposed by a scheduling order. The amended rule now permits only written motions for summary judgment, and they must be filed by the deadline specified in the scheduling order, unless the Court grants permission otherwise. This means that attorneys must be cognizant that any and all discovery necessary to support a motion for summary judgment, previously thought to be allowed to be continued past this deadline informally, now must be completed within the stated MSJ deadline absent a showing of good cause. It remains to be seen how Courts or Judges will interpret the “good cause” showing. To the extent good cause exists, it would be strongly recommended that counsel seek such a ruling and appropriate extensions well in advance of the deadline. The order was issued 3/2/15 – it became effective July 1, 2015.