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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default Can a Judge Overrule the Decision of Another Judge of the Same Court

    Plaintiff originally filed a tort complaint to be heard in Maryland District Court. Defendant file a Notice of Intention to Defend but filed nothing else.

    Nearly four months later, Defendant filed a motion for leave to file counterclaim (and had to show good cause). Plaintiff opposed Defendant's motion. A District Court judge later ruled on the motion denying Defendant's request for leave to file counterclaim.

    Now 5 months later, another judge of same court, while ruling on another completely unrelated motion in the matter, apparently revisited Defendant's previous motion for leave to file counterclaim... and granted it!

    Defendant's attorney: 1) had not filed a motion to reconsider leave to file counterclaim, 2) had not filed another motion hinting in any way for a second request for leave to file counterclaim, and 3) nothing else in the case has materially changed (with regards to the Defendant's original request for leave to file counterclaim). So either the judge wasn't paying attention to the previous decision issued OR he/she was purposely taking up "the previously settled law of the case" and overruling another judge of the same District court? Can he/she do that?

    Is there any legal precedent that I could cite in a motion to dismiss counterclaim that the judge (who overruled another judge of the same court) is in error?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can a Judge Overrule the Decision of Another Judge of the Same Court

    What happened? This judge was assigned to the case by virtue of the original judge retiring, taking a vacation, getting sick... or what? The judge presiding over the case can revisit prior orders.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default Re: Can a Judge Overrule the Decision of Another Judge of the Same Court

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    What happened? This judge was assigned to the case by virtue of the original judge retiring, taking a vacation, getting sick... or what? The judge presiding over the case can revisit prior orders.
    No judge retired and I don't believe anyone was sick or taking a vacation... judges apparently rotate week by week in ruling on any open motions which have become ripe that week.

    And from what I read at: http://www.sog.unc.edu/pubs/electron...s/aojb0802.pdf, another judge can only revisit an interlocutory order issed by another judge of the same court when there has been a substantial change in the case circumstances that would warrant revisiting of the original order.

    According to the above reference:
    "The rule barring one trial judge from modifying or vacating an interlocutory order entered by another trial judge serves judicial economy by avoiding protracted reargument of the same issue, prevents judge shopping and the resulting public perception that the outcome of a case depends on knowing the judge, and helps preserve relationships between judges."

    Any other opinions out there?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can a Judge Overrule the Decision of Another Judge of the Same Court

    If the judges rotate through the motion docket, then the judge who has the case at any particular time can resolve issues pertaining to that case.

    If you are aggrieved, talk to a lawyer about your remedies. We know essentially nothing about the case.

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