Litigation Lawyers in St. Augustine
In St. Augustine, 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 St. Augustine, 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 St. Augustine, 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 St. Augustine, Florida Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: In St. Augustine, Florida the first step in suing somebody (after speaking with a lawyer to determine if you have a case) is usually filing a complaint. The complaint is also one of the most important documents in the civil litigation process. By laying out the wrongs that the plaintiff alleges the defendant has committed, as well as the remedies that the plaintiff wants the court to provide, it can set the tone for the entire rest of the case.
Answer: The answer is a document filed by the defendant, in response to a complaint. The answer usually contains a few things: typically, it denies most of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If it does not deny the factual assertions in the complaint, it will usually raise legal defenses, known as affirmative defenses, arguing that even if everything the plaintiff alleges is true, the defendant should not be held liable, because of extenuating circumstances.
Discovery: After the complaint has been filed in the St. Augustine, Florida 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 actually very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in St. Augustine, Florida, because the rules of civil procedure in St. Augustine, 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 St. Augustine, Florida Lawyer Help?
If you are dealing with a lawsuit in St. Augustine, Florida, it's almost certain that you will have to deal with issues concerning civil procedure.
The rules of civil procedure in St. Augustine, Florida are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a good attorney on your side, to help you through the process.