Litigation Lawyers in Prince Georges County
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that govern the process of civil litigation in Prince Georges County, 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 Prince Georges County, Maryland 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.
Civil litigation, however, is inherently difficult. So, there is no getting around the fact that the civil procedure rules in Prince Georges County, Maryland are also going to be somewhat convoluted 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 Prince Georges County, Maryland Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The first, and perhaps most important, part of filing a lawsuit in Prince Georges County, Maryland is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Prince Georges County, 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). Normally, 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: Once the complaint is filed, the ball is in the defendant's court, so to speak. In the answer, the defendant has an opportunity to respond to all of the factual allegations made by the plaintiff, normally by denying them. The defendant might also raise affirmative defenses, which could prevent the defendant from being held liable. For example, 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 show that he acted in self-defense, he likely will not be held liable.
Discovery: After the complaint has been filed in the Prince Georges County, Maryland 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 received by sending the other side written questions, which must be answered under oath, demanding access to documents, and deposing witnesses.
Trial: Although the trial is arguably the most dramatic element of civil procedure in Prince Georges County, Maryland, it is really extremely rare for civil lawsuits to make it this far. Civil procedure in Prince Georges County is designed to encourage early settlement of cases, or dismissal of cases that don't have any legal or factual merit. However, in the rare cases when the case is not dismissed, and the parties can't reach a settlement, the matter will go to trial. A trial is the most visible aspect of civil litigation, and it is the stage when all of the legal and factual questions raised by both parties are resolved by a judge and jury, respectively.
How Can a Prince Georges County, Maryland Lawyer Help?
If you're suing someone, or are being sued, in Prince Georges County, Maryland, dealing with issues of civil procedure is going to be a fact of life for quite some time.
Civil Procedure in Prince Georges County, Maryland can be pretty convoluted. It's always a good idea to have a lawyer who can advise you on how best to deal with these civil procedure issues.