(CUMBERLAND, FREDERICK, OAKLAND, AND HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – October 16, 2017) – The Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC) case management system is now operational in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. The launch of MDEC in a county makes electronic filing mandatory for attorneys representing clients in civil and criminal cases in District Court, Circuit Court, and any appellate filings that commence in that county.
MDEC modernizes court processes and makes case filing more convenient for litigants. Maryland attorneys have been filing electronically, or “e-filing,” since October 2014, when MDEC launched as a pilot in Anne Arundel County. The Judiciary is expanding the highly automated system to provide attorneys with the opportunity to transition from a paper-based process to a technology-based electronic filing system.
The Western Maryland launch means that more than 70 percent of jurisdictions in the state are now operating under the electronic case management system. The Judiciary is on pace to achieve the goal to bring MDEC to every court by 2021.
“The Maryland Judiciary is making great strides in bringing case management and electronic filing to all Maryland state courts in order to improve services for the people of Maryland,” said Mary Ellen Barbera, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. “Implementation of MDEC statewide will allow the Judiciary to improve services for all who utilize the courts. I wish to commend the members of the Judiciary in Western Maryland, including staff and leadership, for their commitment and hard work throughout the implementation process.”
“The tremendous work by everyone in the courts and the supporting offices to train, update hardware and facilities, and prepare for the new system has resulted in a smooth, seamless transition,” said John P. Morrissey, Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland.
“This is an exciting day that we have been working toward for many months,” said W. Timothy Finan, Fourth Circuit Administrative Judge (Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties). “I am proud to be part of the team effort to modernize our records system and improve service.”
Julie Stevenson Solt, County Administrative Judge, Circuit Court for Frederick County, said, “Our judges and staff are well-prepared for this launch. We have trained thoroughly and have had the advantage of working with colleagues in other jurisdictions who have already implemented MDEC, which has helped to make this an easy transition.”
“This is an important step forward,” said O. John Cejka, Jr., District 11 Administrative Judge (Frederick and Washington counties). This system will help to eliminate reliance on paper files, improve the transfer of records as cases progress through the system, and make our courts more accessible to litigants.”
“Today may seem very much like a normal workday to the public, but there has been a lot of preparation, both technically and through training, that has taken place behind the scenes. The end result is a significant improvement to our ability to manage cases and records,” said H. Jack Price, Jr., District 12 Administrative Judge (Allegany and Garrett counties).
Courts no longer will accept paper filings from attorneys in areas where MDEC has launched. Maryland Rule 20-106(b), however, sets out the circumstances in which a person may be excused from the e-filing requirement. Nonpayment of rent cases filed under Maryland Code, Real Property, Section 8-401, will continue to be exempt from mandatory electronic filing until further notice.
As part of the preparation for MDEC’s launch in Western Maryland, the Judiciary held informational events and offered online instructions to help attorneys learn about the new system, how to register to use it, and how to e-file.
The Judiciary website has more information about MDEC and instructions for attorneys and staff on how to register to e-file. Attorneys and staff who are registered to e-file may register for webinars and training.
As of October 16, MDEC is operational in Allegany, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester counties.
The next launch of MDEC will be April 16, 2018 in Carroll, Harford, and Howard counties.