Litigation Lawyers in St. Joseph
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that regulate the process of civil litigation in St. Joseph, Illinois. It does not deal with the substantive rights that the litigation system is meant to safeguard, just the process by which it protects them.
The rules of civil procedure in St. Joseph, Illinois are designed to make the process of civil litigation as efficient, inexpensive, simple, and fair as possible.
In St. Joseph, Illinois, civil litigation is frequently extremely confusing. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that the rules of civil procedure can also be fairly complicated. After all, they govern everything from the first document filed by the plaintiff, to the last ruling issued by an appeals court.
Major St. Joseph, Illinois Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The initial, and perhaps most significant, part of filing a lawsuit in St. Joseph, Illinois is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in St. Joseph, Illinois 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: The answer is typically the first document that the defendant files, and it is meant to serve as a direct response to the plaintiff's complaint. It typically denies all of the plaintiff's major allegations. It might also lay out affirmative defenses. An "affirmative defense" is a set of reasons that negate the defendant's liability even if their conduct would ordinarily be unlawful. For example, in a lawsuit for battery, a defendant might admit that he struck the plaintiff, but claim that he acted in self-defense. If that can be shown, it would negate, or mitigate, his liability to the plaintiff.
Discovery: The civil procedure rules in St. Joseph, Illinois were written with the purpose of, among other things, preventing surprises. For that reason, everyone engaged in a lawsuit goes into trial with a pretty good idea of what evidence the other side has. This is largely because of the discovery procedure, during which the attorneys for both sides are obligated to disclose (with some exemptions) all information relevant to the trial which they have in their possession. These disclosures come in several forms, such as simply sending boxes of documents, deposing witnesses, or submitting written questions to the other side, which the recipient is obligated to answer under oath.
Trial: It's quite rare for lawsuits in St. Joseph, Illinois to go to trial. St. Joseph's civil procedure rules truly discourage trials, and alternatively have designed the system so that it's almost always more cost-effective to settle out of court. Nonetheless, if this is not possible, the matter will go to trial, where a judge and/or jury will decide the factual questions, and then award the appropriate relief (if any) to the prevailing party.
How Can a St. Joseph, Illinois Lawyer Help?
If you are dealing with a lawsuit in St. Joseph, Illinois, it's almost given that you will have to deal with issues regarding civil procedure.
It should go without saying that you should have a St. Joseph, Illinois attorney on hand to deal with any civil procedure issues that you're almost sure to face, if you're engaged in a lawsuit.