Litigation Lawyers in Monterey County
In Monterey County, California, "civil procedure" refers to the different processes and procedures that must be followed when conducting a civil lawsuit.
The civil procedure rules in Monterey County, California are designed around a few simple goals for the civil litigation system: efficiency, accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and, most especially, fairness.
In Monterey County, California, civil litigation is usually extremely difficult. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that the rules of civil procedure can also be fairly intricate. After all, they govern everything from the first document filed by the plaintiff, to the last ruling issued by an appeals court.
Major Monterey County, California Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: Perhaps the most significant part of filing a lawsuit in Monterey County, California is the complaint. The complaint is a document filed with a Monterey County, California court that lays out the plaintiff's (the individual filing the suit) allegations against the defendant (the individual being sued), as well as the relief that the plaintiff is seeking from the court.
Answer: For the defendant, the answer is normally the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer usually 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: The civil procedure rules in Monterey County, California were written with the purpose of, among other things, preventing surprises. For that reason, everyone immersed in a lawsuit goes into trial with a pretty good idea of what evidence the other side has. This is largely because of the discovery procedure, during which the attorneys for both sides are obligated to disclose (with some exemptions) all information relevant to the trial which they have in their possession. These disclosures come in several forms, such as simply sending boxes of documents, deposing witnesses, or submitting written questions to the other side, which the recipient is obligated to answer under oath.
Trial: In Monterey County, California, it's really very 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 Monterey County are particularly meant to encourage early resolution of legal disputes, without resorting to a costly and time-consuming trial. Nonetheless, 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 acquired 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.
How Can a Monterey County, California Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any considerable legal issue in Monterey County, California, you can be pretty much sure that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
Because the rules of civil procedure in Monterey County, California are complicated, it's smart to have the counsel of an accomplished attorney through every step of the process.