Civil Procedure in Polk County, Florida
In Polk County, Florida, "civil procedure" refers to the varied processes and procedures that must be followed when conducting a civil lawsuit.
Like all laws, the rules of civil procedure in Polk County, Florida reflect specific values that society, through its elected representatives, wants to advocate. So, the rules of civil procedure have the stated goal of ensuring that the justice system is fair, cost effective, efficient, and accessible to everyone who has a legitimate legal grievance.
Civil litigation, however, is inherently confusing. So, there is no getting around the fact that the civil procedure rules in Polk County, Florida are also going to be somewhat intricate and obtuse (or at least parts of them are). Remember, these rules govern every single thing that happens in a civil lawsuit, from the first complaint, to the last appeal.
Major Polk County, Florida Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The first, and perhaps most important, part of filing a lawsuit in Polk County, Florida is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Polk County, Florida that's responsible for handling civil trials. It lists everything that the plaintiff (the person who is suing) alleges against the defendant (the person the plaintiff is suing). Typically, but not always, the end of the complaint will contain a "prayer for relief." The prayer for relief is simply a statement of what the plaintiff is asking the court to do to remedy the harm that the defendant allegedly caused.
Answer: After the plaintiff files the complaint, the defendant has to act. While they have a few options at this stage of the game, most defendants elect to file an answer. The answer is the defendant's first direct response to the plaintiff's allegations. Sometimes, the answer contains a general denial, in which the defendant simply denies everything the plaintiff alleges. It might also contain a point-by-point addressing of every allegation the plaintiff makes, denying some, and admitting some.
Discovery: Once the complaint and answer have been filed in a Polk County, Florida court, the next major civil procedure issue comes up. Discovery is the process in which both sides of the lawsuit are required to disclose required evidence to one another. The lawyers for each side can submit written questions, which the other party is required to answer under oath, unless the information is privileged. Each side can also request any relevant documents, physical evidence, and can conduct depositions of witnesses and parties to the lawsuit.
Trial: In Polk County, Florida, it's truly extremely rare for civil lawsuits to go to trial. Of all the lawsuits that are filed, only a tiny minority make it to trial. The majority are either dismissed, or settled. This is by design: the civil procedure rules in Polk County are specifically meant to encourage early resolution of legal disputes, without resorting to a costly and time-consuming trial. However, when a case does go to trial, it is for the purpose of a jury resolving all of the factual disputes between the parties. Each side will present evidence received through the discovery process, call witnesses, and make arguments on behalf of their position. Once the jury reaches a verdict (a finding of fact), the judge enters a judgment on the verdict.
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How Can a Polk County, Florida Lawyer Help?
If you are dealing with a lawsuit in Polk County, Florida, it's almost certain that you will have to deal with issues concerning civil procedure.
It should go without saying that you should have a Polk County, Florida attorney on hand to deal with any civil procedure issues that you're almost certain to face, if you're engaged in a lawsuit.