Litigation Lawyers in Santa Fe
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, "civil procedure" is a broad term that refers to all of the rules that govern the process of civil litigation. Procedural law (such as civil procedure) is distinguished from substantive law, which governs the rights and obligations that the civil justice system is designed to safeguard.
Like all laws, the rules of civil procedure in Santa Fe, New Mexico reflect certain values that society, through its elected representatives, wants to promote. So, the rules of civil procedure have the stated goal of ensuring that the justice system is fair, cost effective, efficient, and accessible to everyone who has a legitimate legal grievance.
The rules of civil procedure in Santa Fe, New Mexico are sometimes perplexing. Because civil litigation is an inherently complex 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 Santa Fe, New Mexico Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: When somebody believes that they have suffered a legal wrong in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and decide to file a lawsuit, the initial document that they file with the court is usually the complaint. The complaint is very significant, because it can frame the factual and legal issues, and set the tone, for the rest of the process. The complaint typically 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: The answer is a document filed by the defendant, in response to a complaint. The answer usually contains a few things: typically, it denies most of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If it does not deny the factual assertions in the complaint, it will usually raise legal defenses, known as affirmative defenses, arguing that even if everything the plaintiff alleges is true, the defendant should not be held liable, because of extenuating circumstances.
Discovery: Once both sides have fired their opening volleys in the form of the complaint and answer, the next procedure in civil litigation in Santa Fe, New Mexico is discovery. Under the civil procedure rules of most jurisdictions in the U.S., each side of a lawsuit is obligated 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: Although the trial is arguably the most dramatic element of civil procedure in Santa Fe, New Mexico, it is actually very rare for civil lawsuits to make it this far. Civil procedure in Santa Fe is designed to encourage early settlement of cases, or dismissal of cases that don't have any legal or factual merit. Nonetheless, 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 Santa Fe, New Mexico Lawyer Help?
If you're facing a lawsuit in Santa Fe, New Mexico whether as the plaintiff or defendant, you will have to interact with your jurisdiction's civil procedure rules.
It should go without saying that you should have a Santa Fe, New Mexico attorney on hand to deal with any civil procedure issues that you're almost sure to face, if you're involved in a lawsuit.