Litigation Lawyers in Webster Groves
In Webster Groves, 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 Webster Groves, Missouri are designed to make the process of civil litigation as efficient, affordable, simple, and fair as possible.
In Webster Groves, 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 Webster Groves, Missouri Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The first, and perhaps most important, part of filing a lawsuit in Webster Groves, Missouri is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Webster Groves, Missouri that's responsible for handling civil trials. It lists everything that the plaintiff (the person who is suing) alleges against the defendant (the person the plaintiff is suing). Typically, but not always, the end of the complaint will contain a "prayer for relief." The prayer for relief is simply a statement of what the plaintiff is asking the court to do to remedy the harm that the defendant allegedly caused.
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 complaint and answer have been filed in a Webster Groves, Missouri court, the next major civil procedure issue comes up. Discovery is the process in which both sides of the lawsuit are required to disclose required evidence to one another. The lawyers for each side can submit written questions, which the other party is required to answer under oath, unless the information is privileged. Each side can also request any relevant documents, physical evidence, and can conduct depositions of witnesses and parties to the lawsuit.
Trial: Although the trial is arguably the most dramatic element of civil procedure in Webster Groves, Missouri, it is truly extremely rare for civil lawsuits to make it this far. Civil procedure in Webster Groves 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 Webster Groves, Missouri Lawyer Help?
If you're suing someone, or are being sued, in Webster Groves, Missouri, dealing with issues of civil procedure is going to be a fact of life for quite some time.
The rules of civil procedure in Webster Groves, 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.