Litigation Lawyers in Durham
In Durham, North Carolina, "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 protect.
The rules of civil procedure in Durham, North Carolina are designed to make the process of civil litigation as efficient, affordable, simple, and fair as possible.
Civil litigation in Durham, North Carolina is almost never a simple process. So, the rules governing this process can't always be simple, either. Remember, civil procedure covers every single step of the civil litigation process, which can drag on for years.
Major Durham, North Carolina Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The complaint is probably the most important document that the plaintiff will file in a Durham, North Carolina lawsuit, and it is normally 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. Thus, it can frame the tone, as well as the legal and factual issues, that will dominate the rest of the case.
Answer: For the defendant, the answer is normally the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer usually 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: The civil procedure rules in Durham, North Carolina were written with the purpose of, among other things, avoiding surprises. For that reason, everyone immersed 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 Durham, North Carolina, it's really 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 Durham 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 obtained 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 Durham, North Carolina Lawyer Help?
If you are facing a legal issue of any kind in Durham, North Carolina, you are going to face civil procedure issues.
It should go without saying that you should have a Durham, North Carolina attorney on hand to deal with any civil procedure issues that you're almost certain to face, if you're immersed in a lawsuit.