Litigation Lawyers in Westminster
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that govern the process of civil litigation in Westminster, 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 Westminster, Maryland 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.
Civil litigation, however, is inherently complex. So, there is no getting around the fact that the civil procedure rules in Westminster, Maryland are also going to be somewhat complicated 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 Westminster, Maryland Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: In Westminster, Maryland 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: The answer is a document filed by the defendant, in response to a complaint. The answer usually contains a few things: typically, it denies most of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If it does not deny the factual assertions in the complaint, it will usually 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: Once the initial documents have been filed by both parties in the correct Westminster, Maryland court, the discovery process begins. "Discovery" refers to a wide range of disclosures that each side of the lawsuit must make to the other. Essentially, everyone involved in the lawsuit has to disclose every piece of information in their possession (with some exceptions) that's relevant to the factual issues in the case. There are a few different methods that are employed in this process: each side can send written questions to the other, which must be answered under oath. They can also request documents, as well as access to physical evidence. They can also conduct depositions (in-person Q&A sessions) of parties and witnesses.
Trial: It's quite rare for lawsuits in Westminster, Maryland to go to trial. Westminster's civil procedure rules actually discourage trials, and instead have designed the system so that it's almost always more cost-effective to settle out of court. However, if this is not possible, the matter will go to trial, where a judge and/or jury will determine the factual questions, and then award the appropriate relief (if any) to the prevailing party.
How Can a Westminster, Maryland Lawyer Help?
If you are facing a legal issue of any kind in Westminster, Maryland, you are going to encounter civil procedure issues.
It should go without saying that you should have a Westminster, Maryland attorney on hand to deal with any civil procedure issues that you're almost certain to face, if you're involved in a lawsuit.