Litigation Lawyers in Key West
In Key West, Florida, "civil procedure" refers to the various processes and procedures that must be followed when conducting a civil lawsuit.
Like all laws, the rules of civil procedure in Key West, Florida reflect certain values that society, through its elected representatives, wants to promote. 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 complex. So, there is no getting around the fact that the civil procedure rules in Key West, Florida are also going to be somewhat complicated 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 Key West, Florida Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: Perhaps the most important part of filing a lawsuit in Key West, Florida is the complaint. The complaint is a document filed with a Key West, Florida court that lays out the plaintiff's (the person filing the suit) allegations against the defendant (the person being sued), as well as the relief that the plaintiff is seeking from the court.
Answer: For the defendant, the answer is usually the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer typically 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 example, 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: Once both sides have fired their opening volleys in the form of the complaint and answer, the next process in civil litigation in Key West, Florida is discovery. Under the civil procedure rules of most jurisdictions in the U.S., each side of a lawsuit is required 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's actually very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in Key West, Florida, because the rules of civil procedure in Key West, and nearly everywhere else, encourage speedy resolution of legal disputes, before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is largely accomplished by judges dismissing cases that clearly have no merit, or the parties settling out of court. However, 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 decide the issues.
How Can a Key West, Florida Lawyer Help?
If you are facing a legal issue of any kind in Key West, Florida, you are going to encounter civil procedure issues.
Because the rules of civil procedure in Key West, Florida are complex, it's smart to have the counsel of an experienced attorney through every step of the process.