Litigation Lawyers in Bristol County
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that regulate the process of civil litigation in Bristol County, Massachusetts. It does not deal with the substantive rights that the litigation system is meant to safeguard, just the process by which it protects them.
Like all laws, the rules of civil procedure in Bristol County, Massachusetts 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.
Bristol County, Massachusetts's civil procedure rules can get pretty confusing, however. They regulate every aspect of a civil action, from the filing of the complaint, to discovery, and all the way through trial and appeals.
Major Bristol County, Massachusetts Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The initial, and perhaps most significant, part of filing a lawsuit in Bristol County, Massachusetts is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Bristol County, Massachusetts 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: Once the complaint and answer have been filed in a Bristol County, Massachusetts court, the next major civil procedure issue comes up. Discovery is the procedure in which both sides of the lawsuit are obligated to disclose obligated evidence to one another. The lawyers for each side can submit written questions, which the other party is required to answer under oath, unless the information is privileged. Each side can also request any relevant documents, physical evidence, and can conduct depositions of witnesses and parties to the lawsuit.
Trial: Although the trial is arguably the most dramatic element of civil procedure in Bristol County, Massachusetts, it is truly very rare for civil lawsuits to make it this far. Civil procedure in Bristol 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 Bristol County, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
If you're suing anyone, or are being sued, in Bristol County, Massachusetts, dealing with issues of civil procedure is going to be a fact of life for quite some time.
The rules of civil procedure in Bristol County, Massachusetts are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a reliable attorney on your side, to help you through the process.