Litigation Lawyers in Smithville
In Smithville, Missouri, "civil procedure" is a broad term that refers to all of the statutes that control the process of civil litigation. Procedural law (such as civil procedure) is distinguished from substantive law, which covers the rights and obligations that the civil justice system is designed to safeguard.
The rules of civil procedure in Smithville, Missouri are designed to make the process of civil litigation as efficient, inexpensive, simple, and fair as possible.
The rules of civil procedure in Smithville, Missouri are sometimes difficult. Because civil litigation is an inherently complicated 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 Smithville, Missouri Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: In Smithville, Missouri the initial step in suing somebody (after speaking with a lawyer to determine if you have a case) is normally filing a complaint. The complaint is also one of the most significant documents in the civil litigation process. By laying out the wrongs that the plaintiff alleges the defendant has committed, as well as the remedies that the plaintiff wants the court to provide, it can set the tone for the entire rest of the case.
Answer: Once the complaint is filed, the ball is in the defendant's court, so to speak. In the answer, the defendant has an chance to respond to all of the factual allegations made by the plaintiff, normally by denying them. The defendant might also raise affirmative defenses, which could keep the defendant from being held liable. For instance, if the defendant is accused of battery, and he did, in fact, batter the plaintiff, he might admit to that fact, but claim that the plaintiff was the aggressor, and he acted purely in self-defense. If he can show that he acted in self-defense, he likely will not be held liable.
Discovery: Once the initial documents have been filed by both parties in the proper Smithville, 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. Basically, 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 procedure: each side can send written questions to the other, which must be answered under oath. They can further 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 is really quite rare for civil lawsuits in Smithville, Missouri to go to trial, since the rules of civil procedure in Smithville 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 Smithville, Missouri Lawyer Help?
If you're suing anyone, or are being sued, in Smithville, Missouri, dealing with issues of civil procedure is going to be a fact of life for quite some time.
In Smithville, Missouri, procedural dilemmas can derail an otherwise-valid case. They can also be some of the most obtuse and convoluted issues in the whole case. Thus, you should not go into something like this without the counsel of an attorney.