Litigation Lawyers in Santa Clara County
In Santa Clara County, California, "civil procedure" refers to the various processes and procedures that must be followed when conducting a civil lawsuit.
The civil procedure rules in Santa Clara County, California are designed around a few simple goals for the civil litigation system: efficiency, accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and, most importantly, fairness.
In Santa Clara County, California, civil litigation is often extremely complicated. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that the rules of civil procedure can also be fairly complex. After all, they govern everything from the first document filed by the plaintiff, to the last ruling issued by an appeals court.
Major Santa Clara County, California Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The first, and perhaps most important, part of filing a lawsuit in Santa Clara County, California is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Santa Clara County, California 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). Usually, 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: After the complaint has been filed in the Santa Clara County, California court of competent jurisdiction, the next major 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 obtained by sending the other side written questions, which must be answered under oath, demanding access to documents, and deposing witnesses.
Trial: It's quite rare for lawsuits in Santa Clara County, California to go to trial. Santa Clara County's civil procedure rules actually discourage trials, and instead have designed the system so that it's almost always more cost-effective to settle out of court. However, if this is not possible, the matter will go to trial, where a judge and/or jury will determine the factual questions, and then award the appropriate relief (if any) to the prevailing party.
How Can a Santa Clara County, California Lawyer Help?
If you're suing someone, or are being sued, in Santa Clara County, California, dealing with issues of civil procedure is going to be a fact of life for quite some time.
Because the rules of civil procedure in Santa Clara County, California are complex, it's smart to have the counsel of an experienced attorney through every step of the process.