Litigation Lawyers in South Portland
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that regulate the process of civil litigation in South Portland, Maine. 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 South Portland, Maine 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 in South Portland, Maine is almost never a simple process. So, the rules controlling this process can't always be simple, either. Remember, civil procedure governs every single step of the civil litigation process, which can drag on for years.
Major South Portland, Maine Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: Perhaps the most significant part of filing a lawsuit in South Portland, Maine is the complaint. The complaint is a document filed with a South Portland, Maine court that lays out the plaintiff's (the individual filing the suit) allegations against the defendant (the individual being sued), as well as the relief that the plaintiff is seeking from the court.
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, usually 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 prove that he acted in self-defense, he likely will not be held liable.
Discovery: After the complaint has been filed in the South Portland, Maine court of competent jurisdiction, the next important 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 Portland, Maine, because the rules of civil procedure in South Portland, and nearly everywhere else, encourage speedy resolution of legal disputes, before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is largely done by judges dismissing cases that clearly have no merit, or the parties settling out of court. Nonetheless, 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 determine the issues.
How Can a South Portland, Maine Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any significant legal issue in South Portland, Maine, you can be pretty much sure that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
The rules of civil procedure in South Portland, Maine are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a reputable attorney on your side, to help you through the process.