Litigation Lawyers in Westlake
"Civil procedure" in Westlake, Ohio is a very broad term, and it refers to the wide variety of rules that control how civil litigation is done. It is to be distinguished from substantive law, which controls the rights that civil litigation is meant to vindicate.
The rules of civil procedure in Westlake, Ohio are designed to make the process of civil litigation as efficient, inexpensive, simple, and fair as possible.
The rules of civil procedure in Westlake, Ohio 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 Westlake, Ohio Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The complaint is probably the most important document that the plaintiff will file in a Westlake, Ohio 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: The answer is a document filed by the defendant, in response to a complaint. The answer normally contains a few things: usually, it denies most of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If it does not deny the factual assertions in the complaint, it will normally 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 the initial documents have been filed by both parties in the proper Westlake, Ohio 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's really very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in Westlake, Ohio, because the rules of civil procedure in Westlake, and nearly everywhere else, encourage speedy resolution of legal disputes, before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is largely done by judges dismissing cases that clearly have no merit, or the parties settling out of court. Nonetheless, when neither of these things is possible, both sides of the lawsuit will have to hash it out in a trial, which can be the most stressful and expensive step in the process. It involves both sides of the case presenting their evidence and arguments to a jury and judge, and letting them determine the issues.
How Can a Westlake, Ohio Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any considerable legal issue in Westlake, Ohio, you can be pretty much sure that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
The rules of civil procedure in Westlake, Ohio are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a seasoned attorney on your side, to help you through the process.