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Understanding Affidavit Judgment in Baltimore City

Someone comes to your house and hands you a lawsuit telling you that you have been sued in the District Court for Baltimore City for a debt. The person suing you has signed the bottom of the first page of the Complaint underneath an “Application and Affidavit in Support of Judgment.” What does this mean?

This means that the person suing you wants the court to enter a judgment against you based on the paperwork attached to the lawsuit. If you do not fill out the first page of the Writ of Summons, labeled “Notice of Intention to Defend,” you should then receive a notice from the court that says the Court has scheduled a proceeding in the case and the type of proceeding is a “Trial (Affidavit Judgment).” At these hearings, also called affidavit judgment hearings, the person who has filed the lawsuit usually does not attend and the only thing that typically happens is the judge will determine whether you have a “meritorious” defense, or a defense that would be a legal defense to the claims. If the court accepts your defense, then the case will be set in for a merit trial for a different day, usually 30 to 45 days away. At the merit trial, the person suing you or someone on their behalf will have to appear and you have the ability to show documents to the court and tell your side of the story at that time.

*This is not legal advice. Every case is different and each county may be different in handling requests for judgment on affidavit. You should contact an attorney if you have been sued.