Litigation Lawyers in Columbia
"Civil procedure" refers to the wide variety of rules that govern the process of civil litigation in Columbia, 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.
Columbia, 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 Columbia, Missouri, civil litigation is often 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 Columbia, Missouri Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: When somebody believes that they have suffered a legal wrong in Columbia, 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: For the defendant, the answer is typically the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer normally denies most, or all, of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If the allegations are factually correct, and the defendant knows this, the defendant might admit that the allegations are true, but because of extenuating circumstances, they should not be held liable. For example, in a lawsuit for battery, a defendant might admit that they did strike the plaintiff, but claim that they were acting in self-defense, which would negate or weaken the plaintiff's case.
Discovery: Once both sides have fired their opening volleys in the form of the complaint and answer, the next process in civil litigation in Columbia, Missouri is discovery. Under the civil procedure rules of most jurisdictions in the U.S., each side of a lawsuit is required 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's truly very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in Columbia, Missouri, because the rules of civil procedure in Columbia, and nearly everywhere else, encourage speedy resolution of legal disputes, before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is largely accomplished by judges dismissing cases that clearly have no merit, or the parties settling out of court. However, 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 decide the issues.
How Can a Columbia, Missouri Lawyer Help?
If you are facing a legal issue of any kind in Columbia, Missouri, you are going to confront civil procedure issues.
The rules of civil procedure in Columbia, Missouri are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side, to help you through the process.