Litigation Lawyers in Lakeville
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that regulate the process of civil litigation in Lakeville, 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 Lakeville, 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.
Lakeville, 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 Lakeville, Massachusetts Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: When somebody believes that they have suffered a legal wrong in Lakeville, Massachusetts, and decide to file a lawsuit, the initial document that they file with the court is usually the complaint. The complaint is very significant, 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 instance, 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: The civil procedure rules in Lakeville, Massachusetts were written with the purpose of, among other things, preventing surprises. For that reason, everyone involved 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 is actually quite rare for civil lawsuits in Lakeville, Massachusetts to go to trial, since the rules of civil procedure in Lakeville highly encourage early resolution to cases by dismissal of lawsuits that have no merit, and negotiated settlement of those that do. Nonetheless, when neither of those things happen, the case goes to trial. This is when a judge and jury determine the questions of law and fact, respectively, raised in the case. The jury then issues a verdict, based on the evidence presented to them.
How Can a Lakeville, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any significant legal issue in Lakeville, Massachusetts, you can be pretty much sure that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
The rules of civil procedure in Lakeville, Massachusetts are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a reputable attorney on your side, to help you through the process.