Litigation Lawyers in Birmingham
In Birmingham, Alabama, "civil procedure" refers to the varied processes and procedures that must be followed when conducting a civil lawsuit.
In Birmingham, Alabama, the civil procedure rules are meant to ensure that the civil litigation system is as efficient, accessible, fair, and affordable as possible.
Civil litigation, however, is inherently complicated. So, there is no getting around the fact that the civil procedure rules in Birmingham, Alabama are also going to be somewhat confusing 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 Birmingham, Alabama Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The complaint is probably the most important document that the plaintiff will file in a Birmingham, Alabama lawsuit, and it is typically the first. The complaint contains all of the plaintiff's allegations against the defendant, as well as the relief that the plaintiff is asking the court to provide. Consequently, it can frame the tone, as well as the legal and factual issues, that will dominate the rest of the case.
Answer: For the defendant, the answer is typically the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer normally denies most, or all, of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If the allegations are factually correct, and the defendant knows this, the defendant might admit that the allegations are true, but because of extenuating circumstances, they should not be held liable. For instance, in a lawsuit for battery, a defendant might admit that they did strike the plaintiff, but claim that they were acting in self-defense, which would negate or weaken the plaintiff's case.
Discovery: After the complaint has been filed in the Birmingham, Alabama court of competent jurisdiction, the next important phase is the discovery process. In a civil lawsuit, there are not supposed to be any surprises (so the dramatic moments you see in TV trials are largely fiction). This predictability largely comes from the discovery process. Each side of the lawsuit has to disclose information relevant to the lawsuit to the other. This information can be acquired by sending the other side written questions, which must be answered under oath, demanding access to documents, and deposing witnesses.
Trial: it's truly very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in Birmingham, Alabama, because the rules of civil procedure in Birmingham, and nearly everywhere else, encourage speedy resolution of legal disputes, before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is largely done by judges dismissing cases that clearly have no merit, or the parties settling out of court. Nonetheless, when neither of these things is possible, both sides of the lawsuit will have to hash it out in a trial, which can be the most stressful and expensive step in the process. It involves both sides of the case presenting their evidence and arguments to a jury and judge, and letting them determine the issues.
How Can a Birmingham, Alabama Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any substantial legal issue in Birmingham, Alabama, you can be pretty much sure that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
The rules of civil procedure in Birmingham, Alabama are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a reliable attorney on your side, to help you through the process.