Litigation Lawyers in Santa Maria
In Santa Maria, 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 Maria, California are designed around a few simple goals for the civil litigation system: efficiency, accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and, most especially, fairness.
In Santa Maria, California, civil litigation is usually extremely perplexing. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that the rules of civil procedure can also be fairly perplexing. After all, they govern everything from the first document filed by the plaintiff, to the last ruling issued by an appeals court.
Major Santa Maria, California Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The initial, and perhaps most significant, part of filing a lawsuit in Santa Maria, California is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Santa Maria, 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 just 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 avenues 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. Occasionally, 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 both sides have fired their opening volleys in the form of the complaint and answer, the next procedure in civil litigation in Santa Maria, California is discovery. Under the civil procedure rules of most jurisdictions in the U.S., each side of a lawsuit is obligated by law to disclose relevant information to the other side. These disclosures come in the form of depositions, the production of documents, and answers to written questions submitted by opposing counsel.
Trial: It is actually quite rare for civil lawsuits in Santa Maria, California to go to trial, since the rules of civil procedure in Santa Maria highly encourage early resolution to cases by dismissal of lawsuits that have no merit, and negotiated settlement of those that do. Nonetheless, when neither of those things happen, the case goes to trial. This is when a judge and jury determine the questions of law and fact, respectively, raised in the case. The jury then issues a verdict, based on the evidence presented to them.
How Can a Santa Maria, California Lawyer Help?
If you're facing a lawsuit in Santa Maria, California whether as the plaintiff or defendant, you will have to interact with your jurisdiction's civil procedure rules.
In Santa Maria, California, procedural issues can derail an otherwise-valid case. They can also be some of the most obtuse and convoluted issues in the whole case. Therefore, you should not go into something like this without the counsel of an attorney.