Litigation Lawyers in South Hadley
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that govern the process of civil litigation in South Hadley, 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 South Hadley, 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.
South Hadley, 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 South Hadley, Massachusetts Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: In South Hadley, Massachusetts the first step in suing somebody (after speaking with a lawyer to determine if you have a case) is usually filing a complaint. The complaint is also one of the most important documents in the civil litigation process. By laying out the wrongs that the plaintiff alleges the defendant has committed, as well as the remedies that the plaintiff wants the court to provide, it can set the tone for the entire rest of the case.
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: After the complaint has been filed in the South Hadley, Massachusetts court of competent jurisdiction, the next major 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 South Hadley, Massachusetts, because the rules of civil procedure in South Hadley, 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 South Hadley, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
If you are dealing with a lawsuit in South Hadley, Massachusetts, it's almost certain that you will have to deal with issues concerning civil procedure.
The rules of civil procedure in South Hadley, Massachusetts are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a good attorney on your side, to help you through the process.