Litigation Lawyers in Marshalltown
In Marshalltown, Iowa, "civil procedure" refers to the various processes and procedures that must be followed when conducting a civil lawsuit.
Marshalltown, Iowa's government strives to make the civil justice system fair, efficient, and accessible. The rules of civil procedure are designed to promote those goals, to the greatest extent possible.
Civil litigation, however, is inherently complex. So, there is no getting around the fact that the civil procedure rules in Marshalltown, Iowa 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 Marshalltown, Iowa Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: Perhaps the most important part of filing a lawsuit in Marshalltown, Iowa is the complaint. The complaint is a document filed with a Marshalltown, Iowa 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: Once the complaint is filed, the ball is in the defendant's court, so to speak. In the answer, the defendant has an opportunity to respond to all of the factual allegations made by the plaintiff, usually by denying them. The defendant might also raise affirmative defenses, which could prevent the defendant from being held liable. For example, 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 prove that he acted in self-defense, he likely will not be held liable.
Discovery: Once the initial documents have been filed by both parties in the correct Marshalltown, Iowa court, the discovery process begins. "Discovery" refers to a wide range of disclosures that each side of the lawsuit must make to the other. Essentially, everyone involved in the lawsuit has to disclose every piece of information in their possession (with some exceptions) that's relevant to the factual issues in the case. There are a few different methods that are employed in this process: each side can send written questions to the other, which must be answered under oath. They can also request documents, as well as access to physical evidence. They can also conduct depositions (in-person Q&A sessions) of parties and witnesses.
Trial: In Marshalltown, Iowa, it's actually extremely rare for civil lawsuits to go to trial. Of all the lawsuits that are filed, only a tiny minority make it to trial. The majority are either dismissed, or settled. This is by design: the civil procedure rules in Marshalltown are specifically meant to encourage early resolution of legal disputes, without resorting to a costly and time-consuming trial. However, when a case does go to trial, it is for the purpose of a jury resolving all of the factual disputes between the parties. Each side will present evidence obtained through the discovery process, call witnesses, and make arguments on behalf of their position. Once the jury reaches a verdict (a finding of fact), the judge enters a judgment on the verdict.
How Can a Marshalltown, Iowa Lawyer Help?
If you're suing someone, or are being sued, in Marshalltown, Iowa, 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 Marshalltown, Iowa are complex, it's smart to have the counsel of an experienced attorney through every step of the process.