Litigation Lawyers in Harwich
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that govern the process of civil litigation in Harwich, Massachusetts. It does not deal with the substantive rights that the litigation system is meant to protect, just the process by which it protects them.
Like all laws, the rules of civil procedure in Harwich, 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.
Harwich, Massachusetts's civil procedure rules can get pretty complicated, 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 Harwich, Massachusetts Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: When somebody believes that they have suffered a legal wrong in Harwich, Massachusetts, and decide to file a lawsuit, the first document that they file with the court is usually the complaint. The complaint is very important, because it can frame the factual and legal issues, and set the tone, for the rest of the process. The complaint typically contains every factual allegation against the defendant that forms the basis of the plaintiff's lawsuit. It also contains a prayer for relief, in which the plaintiff lays out his or her desired remedies, if the court finds the defendant liable.
Answer: For the defendant, the answer is usually the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer typically denies most, or all, of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If the allegations are factually correct, and the defendant knows this, the defendant might admit that the allegations are true, but because of extenuating circumstances, they should not be held liable. For example, in a lawsuit for battery, a defendant might admit that they did strike the plaintiff, but claim that they were acting in self-defense, which would negate or weaken the plaintiff's case.
Discovery: Once the complaint and answer have been filed in a Harwich, Massachusetts court, the next major civil procedure issue comes up. Discovery is the process in which both sides of the lawsuit are required to disclose required 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: it's actually very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in Harwich, Massachusetts, because the rules of civil procedure in Harwich, and nearly everywhere else, encourage speedy resolution of legal disputes, before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is largely accomplished by judges dismissing cases that clearly have no merit, or the parties settling out of court. However, 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 decide the issues.
How Can a Harwich, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
If you're facing a lawsuit in Harwich, Massachusetts whether as the plaintiff or defendant, you will have to deal with your jurisdiction's civil procedure rules.
Civil Procedure in Harwich, Massachusetts can be pretty complicated. It's always a good idea to have a lawyer who can advise you on how best to deal with these civil procedure issues.