Litigation Lawyers in Baton Rouge
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that regulate the process of civil litigation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 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 civil procedure rules in Baton Rouge, Louisiana are designed around a few simple goals for the civil litigation system: efficiency, accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and, most especially, fairness.
Civil litigation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is almost never a simple process. So, the rules controlling this process can't always be simple, either. Remember, civil procedure governs every single step of the civil litigation process, which can drag on for years.
Major Baton Rouge, Louisiana Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: Perhaps the most significant part of filing a lawsuit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is the complaint. The complaint is a document filed with a Baton Rouge, Louisiana court that lays out the plaintiff's (the individual filing the suit) allegations against the defendant (the individual 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 chance to respond to all of the factual allegations made by the plaintiff, normally 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 show 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 proper Baton Rouge, Louisiana court, the discovery process begins. "Discovery" refers to a wide range of disclosures that each side of the lawsuit must make to the other. Basically, 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 procedure: each side can send written questions to the other, which must be answered under oath. They can further request documents, as well as access to physical evidence. They can also conduct depositions (in-person Q&A sessions) of parties and witnesses.
Trial: it's really very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, because the rules of civil procedure in Baton Rouge, and nearly everywhere else, encourage speedy resolution of legal disputes, before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is largely done by judges dismissing cases that clearly have no merit, or the parties settling out of court. Nonetheless, 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 determine the issues.
How Can a Baton Rouge, Louisiana Lawyer Help?
If you are facing a legal issue of any sort in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, you are going to face civil procedure issues.
The rules of civil procedure in Baton Rouge, Louisiana are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a seasoned attorney on your side, to help you through the process.