Litigation Lawyers in Grand Rapids
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that regulate the process of civil litigation in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It does not deal with the substantive rights that the litigation system is meant to safeguard, just the process by which it protects them.
Grand Rapids, Michigan's government strives to make the civil justice system fair, efficient, and accessible. The rules of civil procedure are designed to encourage those goals, to the greatest extent possible.
Grand Rapids, Michigan's civil procedure rules can get pretty difficult, however. They control every aspect of a civil action, from the filing of the complaint, to discovery, and all the way through trial and appeals.
Major Grand Rapids, Michigan Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The initial, and perhaps most significant, part of filing a lawsuit in Grand Rapids, Michigan is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Grand Rapids, Michigan 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 just 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 normally the first document that the defendant files, and it is meant to serve as a direct response to the plaintiff's complaint. It normally denies all of the plaintiff's major allegations. It might also lay out affirmative defenses. An "affirmative defense" is a set of reasons that negate the defendant's liability even if their conduct would ordinarily be unlawful. For example, in a lawsuit for battery, a defendant might admit that he struck the plaintiff, but claim that he acted in self-defense. If that can be shown, it would negate, or mitigate, his liability to the plaintiff.
Discovery: Once both sides have fired their opening volleys in the form of the complaint and answer, the next procedure in civil litigation in Grand Rapids, Michigan is discovery. Under the civil procedure rules of most jurisdictions in the U.S., each side of a lawsuit is obligated by law to disclose relevant information to the other side. These disclosures come in the form of depositions, the production of documents, and answers to written questions submitted by opposing counsel.
Trial: It is really quite rare for civil lawsuits in Grand Rapids, Michigan to go to trial, since the rules of civil procedure in Grand Rapids highly encourage early resolution to cases by dismissal of lawsuits that have no merit, and negotiated settlement of those that do. Nonetheless, when neither of those things happen, the case goes to trial. This is when a judge and jury determine the questions of law and fact, respectively, raised in the case. The jury then issues a verdict, based on the evidence presented to them.
How Can a Grand Rapids, Michigan Lawyer Help?
If you're suing anyone, or are being sued, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, dealing with issues of civil procedure is going to be a fact of life for quite some time.
The rules of civil procedure in Grand Rapids, Michigan are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a seasoned attorney on your side, to help you through the process.