Litigation Lawyers in St. Joseph
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that govern the process of civil litigation in St. Joseph, Michigan. It does not deal with the substantive rights that the litigation system is meant to protect, just the process by which it protects them.
St. Joseph, Michigan's government strives to make the civil justice system fair, efficient, and accessible. The rules of civil procedure are designed to promote those goals, to the greatest extent possible.
St. Joseph, Michigan's civil procedure rules can get pretty complicated, however. They govern every aspect of a civil action, from the filing of the complaint, to discovery, and all the way through trial and appeals.
Major St. Joseph, Michigan Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The complaint is probably the most important document that the plaintiff will file in a St. Joseph, Michigan lawsuit, and it is usually the first. The complaint contains all of the plaintiff's allegations against the defendant, as well as the relief that the plaintiff is asking the court to provide. Therefore, it can frame the tone, as well as the legal and factual issues, that will dominate the rest of the case.
Answer: The answer is usually the first document that the defendant files, and it is meant to serve as a direct response to the plaintiff's complaint. It usually denies all of the plaintiff's major allegations. It might also lay out affirmative defenses. An "affirmative defense" is a set of circumstances 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 proven, it would negate, or mitigate, his liability to the plaintiff.
Discovery: The civil procedure rules in St. Joseph, Michigan were written with the purpose of, among other things, avoiding surprises. For that reason, everyone involved 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: Although the trial is arguably the most dramatic element of civil procedure in St. Joseph, Michigan, it is actually extremely rare for civil lawsuits to make it this far. Civil procedure in St. Joseph 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 St. Joseph, Michigan Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any significant legal issue in St. Joseph, Michigan, you can be pretty much certain that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
Civil Procedure in St. Joseph, Michigan can be pretty complicated. It's always a good idea to have a lawyer who can advise you on how best to deal with these civil procedure issues.