Litigation Lawyers in Ithaca
In Ithaca, New York, "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 Ithaca, New York 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.
Civil litigation in Ithaca, New York is almost never a simple process. So, the rules controlling this process can't always be simple, either. Remember, civil procedure governs every single step of the civil litigation process, which can drag on for years.
Major Ithaca, New York Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: When somebody believes that they have suffered a legal wrong in Ithaca, New York, 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: For the defendant, the answer is usually the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer typically 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 instance, 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 Ithaca, New York were written with the purpose of, among other things, preventing surprises. For that reason, everyone involved 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 procedure, during which the attorneys for both sides are obligated to disclose (with some exemptions) all information relevant to the trial which they have in their possession. These disclosures come in several 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 Ithaca, New York, it's actually very 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 Ithaca are particularly meant to encourage early resolution of legal disputes, without resorting to a costly and time-consuming trial. Nonetheless, 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 gained 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 Ithaca, New York Lawyer Help?
If you are facing a legal issue of any sort in Ithaca, New York, you are going to encounter civil procedure issues.
It should go without saying that you should have an Ithaca, New York attorney on hand to deal with any civil procedure issues that you're almost sure to face, if you're involved in a lawsuit.