Litigation Lawyers in Chelmsford
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that regulate the process of civil litigation in Chelmsford, 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 Chelmsford, Massachusetts 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.
Chelmsford, Massachusetts's civil procedure rules can get pretty perplexing, however. They govern every aspect of a civil action, from the filing of the complaint, to discovery, and all the way through trial and appeals.
Major Chelmsford, Massachusetts Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The initial, and perhaps most significant, part of filing a lawsuit in Chelmsford, Massachusetts is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Chelmsford, 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). Usually, 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, usually 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 prove that he acted in self-defense, he likely will not be held liable.
Discovery: After the complaint has been filed in the Chelmsford, Massachusetts court of competent jurisdiction, the next important 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 Chelmsford, Massachusetts, because the rules of civil procedure in Chelmsford, 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 Chelmsford, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
If you are facing a legal issue of any sort in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, you are going to encounter civil procedure issues.
In Chelmsford, Massachusetts, procedural problems can derail an otherwise-valid case. They can also be some of the most obtuse and convoluted issues in the whole case. Therefore, you should not go into something like this without the counsel of an attorney.