Upper Marlboro, MD asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Maryland

Q: Do i have to respond to a discovery request while im in the middle of switching lawyers

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: The procedural rules do not have an exception in their time deadlines for switching lawyers. Written discovery responses are due 30 days after service of them upon you. That said, the discovery deadlines in most cases in circuit court can encompass a 4-6 month range, and it is common for parties to not respond within the strict time contraints of the rule. Simply notify the opposing counsel or party that you are changing lawyers and your new counsel will be helping you prepare your discovery responses within 30 days. Typically, a party late in their responses will receive at least one letter from opposing counsel after the response is due asking for when they can expect to receive them. The letter may threaten a motion to compel. Even if a motion is filed, so long as you get your answers and responses to document requests delivered to your opponent, the court is unlikely to impose any meaningful sanction since the motion is moot. Judges do not like discovery disputes, but so long as you are making a sincere effort to respond and are not simply being evasive or obstructionist in your actions, you should be fine. Don't take too long to get new counsel. A case already in litigation with deadlines passed or imminent is a recipe for most lawyers to decline taking your case. Nobody wants to be responsible for the finished cake when somebody else already mixed and botched all the ingredients.

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