Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Maryland subpoena rule expands to allow forced access to your land.

New court rules broadening the power of subpoenas have been approved by our Maryland Court of Appeals. Effective April 1, 2017 a Maryland litigant may obtain access to the real property of fellow litigant or third-party by issuing a discovery subpoena. 

Rule 2-422 allows one litigant to issue a subpoena to another litigant: 
to permit entry upon designated land or other property in the possession or control of the party upon whom the request is served for the purpose of inspection, measuring, surveying, photographing, testing, or sampling the property or any designated object or operation on the property...

Companion Rule 2-422.1 creates the same forced rights of access over the land held by someone not a party to the court case. This rule has many more procedural requisites intended balance the interests of third-parties who are strangers to the lawsuit, and to provide leverage over those same third-parties to permit litigants access to relevant and material information.

There are dozens of reasons to compel access over the lands of others, ranging from obvious disputes over access to questions of visibility and testing of eye witness accounts in many other types of cases. Let your imagination run wild.