Litigation Lawyers in Palm Beach County
In Palm Beach County, Florida, "civil procedure" refers to the varied processes and procedures that must be followed when conducting a civil lawsuit.
Like all laws, the rules of civil procedure in Palm Beach County, Florida reflect specific values that society, through its elected representatives, wants to advocate. 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 complicated. So, there is no getting around the fact that the civil procedure rules in Palm Beach County, Florida 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 Palm Beach County, Florida Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The initial, and perhaps most significant, part of filing a lawsuit in Palm Beach County, Florida is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Palm Beach County, Florida 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). Typically, 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: Once the complaint is filed, the ball is in the defendant's court, so to speak. In the answer, the defendant has an chance to respond to all of the factual allegations made by the plaintiff, typically by denying them. The defendant might also raise affirmative defenses, which could keep the defendant from being held liable. For instance, if the defendant is accused of battery, and he did, in fact, batter the plaintiff, he might admit to that fact, but claim that the plaintiff was the aggressor, and he acted purely in self-defense. If he can establish that he acted in self-defense, he likely will not be held liable.
Discovery: After the complaint has been filed in the Palm Beach County, Florida 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: Although the trial is arguably the most dramatic element of civil procedure in Palm Beach County, Florida, it is truly very rare for civil lawsuits to make it this far. Civil procedure in Palm Beach County is designed to encourage early settlement of cases, or dismissal of cases that don't have any legal or factual merit. Nonetheless, in the rare cases when the case is not dismissed, and the parties can't reach a settlement, the matter will go to trial. A trial is the most visible aspect of civil litigation, and it is the stage when all of the legal and factual questions raised by both parties are resolved by a judge and jury, respectively.
How Can a Palm Beach County, Florida Lawyer Help?
If you're suing anyone, or are being sued, in Palm Beach County, Florida, dealing with issues of civil procedure is going to be a fact of life for quite some time.
Civil Procedure in Palm Beach County, Florida can be pretty confusing. It's always a good idea to have a lawyer who can advise you on how best to deal with these civil procedure issues.