Maryland Courts

Resolution Conference

Montgomery and Prince George's Counties only

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a resolution conference?
How can a case be resolved by a resolution conference?
What if the case is not resolved?
I have additional questions, who can I talk to?

NOTICE CONCERNING RESOLUTION CONFERENCES

A resolution conference is an opportunity for you to meet with the attorney for the opposing party (the plaintiff) in your case to attempt to resolve your case without going to trial. A resolution conference is not a hearing and a judge is not present in the courtroom.

Speaking with the plaintiff's attorney at a resolution conference can help bring about the resolution of your case, but you are not required to speak with the plaintiff's attorney. If you wish not to participate in the resolution conference please contact the clerks office. It is your option and it will not be held against you if you choose not to speak with the plaintiff's attorney. If you do not want to participate in the resolution conference, and prefer to go directly to trial, your case will be referred to a judge who will make a determination as to whether your case will go to trial on that date shown or at a future date, you must contact the clerk's office if you wish to go to trial.

Although you are not required to participate in the resolution conference, failure to appear for court on the date and time scheduled may result in a judgment being entered against you based on the claim and exhibits filed. You are encouraged to review this matter with an attorney prior to court and/or be represented by an attorney at the resolution conference and/or trial. Please contact the clerk's office if you have additional questions.

Speaking with the plaintiff's attorney can help bring about the resolution of your case in several ways. At the resolution conference, you may also ask the plaintiff's attorney to provide you with certain information. For example, at the conference, you may:

• Ask the plaintiff's attorney to show you a copy of the legal document on which plaintiff's claim is based, such as a contract or promissory note.

• Ask the plaintiff's attorney to show you a detailed itemization of the amount of the debt claimed, including principal amount owed, interest (with an interest worksheet), and court costs and attorney fees if the plaintiff is claiming them.

• Ask the plaintiff's attorney to demonstrate that the claim is not barred by Maryland's three-year statute of limitations.

• Negotiate with the plaintiff to reduce the amount the plaintiff is claiming and agree on an amount to be paid and have your case dismissed.

• Arrange a payment plan with the plaintiff, understanding that a judgment will be entered against you if you fail to make a payment as required by that payment plan.

• Acknowledge that you owe the money and agree to a consent judgment on which the plaintiff can try to collect in the future.

• Request a trial before a judge, please contact the clerk's office, so you can present your defense.

SAME DAY TRIAL OR FUTURE TRIAL DATE

If you enter in a judgment, or if the court enters one against you, the plaintiff will have the right to enforce that judgment if you do not do what it requires, including seeking to garnish your wages and having a lien placed on your home or land.

If you choose not to speak with the plaintiff's attorney OR are unable to reach an agreement after the resolution conference, your case will be referred to a judge who will make a determination as to whether your case will go to trial on the date shown or at a future date.

At trial, if the principal amount in dispute is $5,000.00 or less, you will have an opportunity to present any evidence that you have to the judge and to question the plaintiff's evidence. In cases where the principal amount is more than $5,000.00, Maryland Rules of Evidence will apply. Because of these rules, you may be unable to present certain evidence and it would be helpful to you to consult with an attorney.

The clerk's office, where your case is filed, can assist you with any other questions you may have concerning resolution conferences. Contact information and directions can be located at: http://www.mdcourts.gov/district/directories/courtmap.html

More information on small claims and other money issues can be found at http://www.mdcourts.gov/legalhelp/moneyissues.html