Litigation Lawyers in Winthrop
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that regulate the process of civil litigation in Winthrop, 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 Winthrop, Massachusetts reflect specific values that society, through its elected representatives, wants to advocate. 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.
Winthrop, Massachusetts's civil procedure rules can get pretty confusing, however. They regulate every aspect of a civil action, from the filing of the complaint, to discovery, and all the way through trial and appeals.
Major Winthrop, Massachusetts Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: In Winthrop, Massachusetts the initial step in suing somebody (after speaking with a lawyer to determine if you have a case) is typically filing a complaint. The complaint is also one of the most significant 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: 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, typically 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 establish that he acted in self-defense, he likely will not be held liable.
Discovery: Once the complaint and answer have been filed in a Winthrop, Massachusetts court, the next major civil procedure issue comes up. Discovery is the procedure in which both sides of the lawsuit are obligated to disclose obligated 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: In Winthrop, Massachusetts, it's truly very rare for civil lawsuits to go to trial. Of all the lawsuits that are filed, only a tiny minority make it to trial. The majority are either dismissed, or settled. This is by design: the civil procedure rules in Winthrop are particularly meant to encourage early resolution of legal disputes, without resorting to a costly and time-consuming trial. Nonetheless, when a case does go to trial, it is for the purpose of a jury resolving all of the factual disputes between the parties. Each side will present evidence acquired through the discovery process, call witnesses, and make arguments on behalf of their position. Once the jury reaches a verdict (a finding of fact), the judge enters a judgment on the verdict.
How Can a Winthrop, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
If you're suing anyone, or are being sued, in Winthrop, Massachusetts, dealing with issues of civil procedure is going to be a fact of life for quite some time.
Because the rules of civil procedure in Winthrop, Massachusetts are intricate, it's smart to have the counsel of an efficient attorney through every step of the process.