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West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 2. Civil Procedure--Circuit Court
Chapter 300. Pleadings and Motions
MD Rules, Rule 2-323
(a) Content. A claim for relief is brought to issue by filing an answer. Every defense of law or fact to a claim for relief in a complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim shall be asserted in an answer, except as provided by Rule 2-322. If a pleading setting forth a claim for relief does not require a responsive pleading, the adverse party may assert at the trial any defense of law or fact to that claim for relief. The answer shall be stated in short and plain terms and shall contain the following: (1) the defenses permitted by Rule 2-322 (b) that have not been raised by motion, (2) answers to the averments of the claim for relief pursuant to section (c) or (d) of this Rule, and (3) the defenses enumerated in sections (f) and (g) of this Rule.
(b) Preliminary Determination. The defenses of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, failure to join a party under Rule 2-211, and governmental immunity shall be determined before trial on application of any party, except that the court may defer the determination of the defense of failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted until the trial.
(c) Specific Admissions or Denials. Except as permitted by section (d) of this Rule, a party shall admit or deny the averments upon which the adverse party relies. A party without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment shall so state and this has the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. A party may deny designated averments or paragraphs or may generally deny all the averments except averments or paragraphs that are specifically admitted.
(d) General Denials in Specified Causes. When the action in any count is for breach of contract, debt, or tort and the claim for relief is for money only, a party may answer that count by a general denial of liability.
(e) Effect of Failure to Deny. Averments in a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required, other than those as to the amount of damages, are admitted unless denied in the responsive pleading or covered by a general denial. Averments in a pleading to which no responsive pleading is required or permitted shall be taken as denied or avoided. When appropriate, a party may claim the inability to admit, deny, or explain an averment on the ground that to do so would tend to incriminate the party, and such statement shall not amount to an admission of the averment.
(f) Negative Defenses. Whether proceeding under section (c) or section (d) of this Rule, when a party desires to raise an issue as to (1) the legal existence of a party, including a partnership or a corporation, (2) the capacity of a party to sue or be sued, (3) the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity, (4) the averment of the execution of a written instrument, or (5) the averment of the ownership of a motor vehicle, the party shall do so by negative averment, which shall include such supporting particulars as are peculiarly within the pleader's knowledge. If not raised by negative averment, these matters are admitted for the purpose of the pending action. Notwithstanding an admission under this section, the court may require proof of any of these matters upon such terms and conditions, including continuance and allocation of costs, as the court deems proper.
(g) Affirmative Defenses. Whether proceeding under section (c) or section (d) of this Rule, a party shall set forth by separate defenses: (1) accord and satisfaction, (2) merger of a claim by arbitration into an award, (3) assumption of risk, (4) collateral estoppel as a defense to a claim, (5) contributory negligence, (6) duress, (7) estoppel, (8) fraud, (9) illegality, (10) laches, (11) payment, (12) release, (13) res judicata, (14) statute of frauds, (15) statute of limitations, (16) ultra vires, (17) usury, (18) waiver, (19) privilege, and (20) total or partial charitable immunity.
In addition, a party may include by separate defense any other matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense on legal or equitable grounds. When a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court shall treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation, if justice so requires.
(h) Defendant's Information Report. The defendant shall file with the answer an information report substantially in the form included with the summons if (1) the plaintiff has failed to file an information report required by Rule 2-111(a), (2) the defendant disagrees with anything contained in an information report filed by the plaintiff, (3) the defendant disagrees with a differentiated case management track previously selected by the court, or (4) the defendant has filed or expects to file a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim. If the defendant fails to file a required information report with the answer, the court may proceed without the defendant's information to assign the action to any track within the court's differentiated case management system or may continue the action on any track previously assigned.
Source: This Rule is derived as follows:
Section (a) is new.
Section (b) is new.
Section (c) is derived from the 1966 version of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (b) and former Rule 372 a 2.
Section (d) is derived from former Rule 342 b 1 and 2.
Section (e) is derived from the 1966 version of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (d) and former Rules 372 b and b 1 and 312 b.
Section (f) is derived from former Rules 311 a, 342 c 1, and 2, and 323 a 5 and from the 1970 version of Fed. R. Civ. P. 9 (a).
Section (g) is derived from the 1966 version of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (c) and former Rule 342 c 1 and 2.
Section (h) is new.


[Adopted April 6, 1984, eff. July 1, 1984. Amended June 7, 1994, eff. Oct. 1, 1994; Jan. 10, 1995, eff. Feb. 1, 1995; March 5, 2001, eff. July 1, 2001; Nov. 12, 2003, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.]
MD Rules, Rule 2-323, MD R RCP CIR CT Rule 2-323
Current with amendments received through May 1, 2024. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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