Litigation Lawyers in Ocean City
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that govern the process of civil litigation in Ocean City, Maryland. 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 Ocean City, Maryland 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.
Civil litigation, however, is inherently confusing. So, there is no getting around the fact that the civil procedure rules in Ocean City, Maryland are also going to be somewhat intricate and obtuse (or at least parts of them are). Remember, these rules govern every single thing that happens in a civil lawsuit, from the first complaint, to the last appeal.
Major Ocean City, Maryland Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The first, and perhaps most important, part of filing a lawsuit in Ocean City, Maryland is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Ocean City, Maryland that's responsible for handling civil trials. It lists everything that the plaintiff (the person who is suing) alleges against the defendant (the person the plaintiff is suing). Typically, but not always, the end of the complaint will contain a "prayer for relief." The prayer for relief is simply a statement of what the plaintiff is asking the court to do to remedy the harm that the defendant allegedly caused.
Answer: The answer is a document filed by the defendant, in response to a complaint. The answer typically contains a few things: normally, it denies most of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If it does not deny the factual assertions in the complaint, it will typically raise legal defenses, known as affirmative defenses, arguing that even if everything the plaintiff alleges is true, the defendant should not be held liable, because of extenuating circumstances.
Discovery: The civil procedure rules in Ocean City, Maryland were written with the purpose of, among other things, avoiding surprises. For that reason, everyone engaged 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 process, during which the attorneys for both sides are required to disclose (with some exemptions) all information relevant to the trial which they have in their possession. These disclosures come in multiple 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: In Ocean City, Maryland, it's truly extremely 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 Ocean City are specifically meant to encourage early resolution of legal disputes, without resorting to a costly and time-consuming trial. However, 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 obtained 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 Ocean City, Maryland Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any substantial legal issue in Ocean City, Maryland, you can be pretty much certain that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
It should go without saying that you should have a Ocean City, Maryland attorney on hand to deal with any civil procedure issues that you're almost certain to face, if you're engaged in a lawsuit.