Litigation Lawyers in Maplewood
In Maplewood, Missouri, "civil procedure" is a broad term that refers to all of the laws that regulate the process of civil litigation. Procedural law (such as civil procedure) is distinguished from substantive law, which regulates the rights and obligations that the civil justice system is designed to protect.
The rules of civil procedure in Maplewood, Missouri are designed to make the process of civil litigation as efficient, affordable, simple, and fair as possible.
The rules of civil procedure in Maplewood, Missouri are sometimes intricate. Because civil litigation is an inherently intricate process, the rules that govern how it proceeds can't be simple, either. They govern every step of the litigation process, from filing the initial complaint, all the way to the final appeals process.
Major Maplewood, Missouri Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The complaint is probably the most important document that the plaintiff will file in a Maplewood, Missouri lawsuit, and it is typically 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. Consequently, 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 typically the first document that the defendant files, and it is meant to serve as a direct response to the plaintiff's complaint. It typically 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: Once the initial documents have been filed by both parties in the correct Maplewood, Missouri court, the discovery process begins. "Discovery" refers to a wide range of disclosures that each side of the lawsuit must make to the other. Essentially, everyone involved in the lawsuit has to disclose every piece of information in their possession (with some exceptions) that's relevant to the factual issues in the case. There are a few different methods that are employed in this process: each side can send written questions to the other, which must be answered under oath. They can additionally request documents, as well as access to physical evidence. They can also conduct depositions (in-person Q&A sessions) of parties and witnesses.
Trial: it's truly very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in Maplewood, Missouri, because the rules of civil procedure in Maplewood, 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 Maplewood, Missouri Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any substantial legal issue in Maplewood, Missouri, you can be pretty much certain that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
The rules of civil procedure in Maplewood, 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.