Current Rule


(a) Definitions. The following definitions apply in this Rule:

(1) ADR. "ADR" means "alternative dispute resolution" as defined in Rule 17-102.
(2) Program. "Program" means the business and technology case management program established pursuant to this Rule.
(3) Program Judge.  "Program judge" means a judge of a circuit court who is assigned to the program.

(b) Program Established. Subject to the availability of fiscal and human resources, a program approved by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals shall be established to enable each circuit court to handle business and technology matters in a coordinated, efficient, and responsive manner and to afford convenient access to attorneys and litigants in business and technology matters. The program shall include:

(1) a program track within the differentiated case management system established under Rule 16-302;  
(2) a procedure by which an action is assigned to the program;
(3) program judges who are specially trained in business and technology; and
(4) ADR proceedings conducted by individuals qualified under Title 17 of these Rules and specially trained in business and technology.

Cross reference: See Rules 16-102 (d) and 16-108 concerning the assignment of a judge of the circuit court for a county to sit as a program judge in the circuit court for another county.

(c) Assignment of Actions to the Program. On written request of a party or on the court's own initiative, the County Administrative Judge or that judge’s designee may assign the action to the program if the judge determines that the action presents commercial or technological issues of such a complex or novel nature that specialized treatment is likely to improve the administration of justice. Factors that the judge may consider in making the determination include: (1) the nature of the relief sought, (2) the number and diverse interests of the parties, (3) the anticipated nature and extent of pretrial discovery and motions, (4) whether the parties agree to waive venue if assignment of the action to the program makes that necessary, (5) the degree of novelty and complexity of the factual, legal, or evidentiary issues presented, (6) whether business or technology issues predominate over other issues presented in the action, and (7) the willingness of the parties to participate in ADR procedures.

(d) Assignment to Program Judge. Each action assigned to the program shall be assigned to a specific program judge. To the extent feasible, the program judge to whom the action is assigned shall hear all proceedings until the matter is concluded, except that, if necessary to prevent undue delay, prejudice, or injustice, the Circuit Administrative Judge or the Circuit Administrative Judge's designee may designate another judge to hear a particular pretrial matter. That judge shall be a program judge, if practicable.

(e) Scheduling Conference; Order. Promptly after an action is assigned, the program judge shall (1) hold a scheduling conference under Rule 2-504.1 at which the program judge and the parties discuss the scheduling of discovery, ADR, and a trial date and (2) enter a scheduling order under Rule 2-504 that includes case management decisions made by the court at or as a result of the scheduling conference.

Source: This Rule is derived from former Rule 16-205 (2016).