Litigation Lawyers in Longmeadow
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that regulate the process of civil litigation in Longmeadow, 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 Longmeadow, Massachusetts reflect particular values that society, through its elected representatives, wants to encourage. 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.
Longmeadow, Massachusetts's civil procedure rules can get pretty difficult, however. They control every aspect of a civil action, from the filing of the complaint, to discovery, and all the way through trial and appeals.
Major Longmeadow, Massachusetts Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: When somebody believes that they have suffered a legal wrong in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and decide to file a lawsuit, the initial document that they file with the court is normally 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 usually 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 normally the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer usually 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 Longmeadow, Massachusetts were written with the purpose of, among other things, preventing surprises. For that reason, everyone immersed 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's quite rare for lawsuits in Longmeadow, Massachusetts to go to trial. Longmeadow's civil procedure rules really discourage trials, and rather have designed the system so that it's almost always more cost-effective to settle out of court. Nonetheless, if this is not possible, the matter will go to trial, where a judge and/or jury will decide the factual questions, and then award the appropriate relief (if any) to the prevailing party.
How Can a Longmeadow, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
If you're facing a lawsuit in Longmeadow, Massachusetts whether as the plaintiff or defendant, you will have to interact with your jurisdiction's civil procedure rules.
Civil Procedure in Longmeadow, Massachusetts can be pretty difficult. It's always a good idea to have a lawyer who can advise you on how best to deal with these civil procedure issues.