Litigation Lawyers in California
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that govern the process of civil litigation in California, Missouri. It does not deal with the substantive rights that the litigation system is meant to protect, just the process by which it protects them.
California, Missouri's government strives to make the civil justice system fair, efficient, and accessible. The rules of civil procedure are designed to advocate those goals, to the greatest extent possible.
In California, Missouri, civil litigation is typically extremely intricate. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that the rules of civil procedure can also be fairly confusing. After all, they govern everything from the first document filed by the plaintiff, to the last ruling issued by an appeals court.
Major California, Missouri Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: When somebody believes that they have suffered a legal wrong in California, Missouri, and decide to file a lawsuit, the first document that they file with the court is typically the complaint. The complaint is very important, because it can frame the factual and legal issues, and set the tone, for the rest of the process. The complaint normally contains every factual allegation against the defendant that forms the basis of the plaintiff's lawsuit. It also contains a prayer for relief, in which the plaintiff lays out his or her desired remedies, if the court finds the defendant liable.
Answer: The answer is a document filed by the defendant, in response to a complaint. The answer typically contains a few things: normally, it denies most of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If it does not deny the factual assertions in the complaint, it will typically 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: The civil procedure rules in California, Missouri were written with the purpose of, among other things, avoiding surprises. For that reason, everyone engaged 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: In California, Missouri, it's truly extremely rare for civil lawsuits to go to trial. Of all the lawsuits that are filed, only a tiny minority make it to trial. The majority are either dismissed, or settled. This is by design: the civil procedure rules in California are specifically meant to encourage early resolution of legal disputes, without resorting to a costly and time-consuming trial. However, when a case does go to trial, it is for the purpose of a jury resolving all of the factual disputes between the parties. Each side will present evidence received through the discovery process, call witnesses, and make arguments on behalf of their position. Once the jury reaches a verdict (a finding of fact), the judge enters a judgment on the verdict.
How Can a California, Missouri Lawyer Help?
If you are facing a legal issue of any kind in California, Missouri, you are going to confront civil procedure issues.
Because the rules of civil procedure in California, Missouri are intricate, it's smart to have the counsel of an efficient attorney through every step of the process.