Litigation Lawyers in Northampton
"Civil procedure" in Northampton, Pennsylvania is a very broad term, and it refers to the wide variety of rules that govern how civil litigation is done. It is to be distinguished from substantive law, which controls the rights that civil litigation is meant to vindicate.
In Northampton, Pennsylvania, the civil procedure rules are meant to ensure that the civil litigation system is as efficient, accessible, fair, and low-cost as possible.
Civil litigation, however, is inherently complicated. So, there is no getting around the fact that the civil procedure rules in Northampton, Pennsylvania are also going to be somewhat confusing and obtuse (or at least parts of them are). Remember, these rules govern every single thing that happens in a civil lawsuit, from the first complaint, to the last appeal.
Major Northampton, Pennsylvania Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: Perhaps the most significant part of filing a lawsuit in Northampton, Pennsylvania is the complaint. The complaint is a document filed with a Northampton, Pennsylvania court that lays out the plaintiff's (the individual filing the suit) allegations against the defendant (the individual being sued), as well as the relief that the plaintiff is seeking from the court.
Answer: Once the complaint is filed, the ball is in the defendant's court, so to speak. In the answer, the defendant has an chance to respond to all of the factual allegations made by the plaintiff, typically by denying them. The defendant might also raise affirmative defenses, which could keep the defendant from being held liable. For instance, if the defendant is accused of battery, and he did, in fact, batter the plaintiff, he might admit to that fact, but claim that the plaintiff was the aggressor, and he acted purely in self-defense. If he can establish that he acted in self-defense, he likely will not be held liable.
Discovery: The civil procedure rules in Northampton, Pennsylvania were written with the purpose of, among other things, preventing surprises. For that reason, everyone engaged 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 Northampton, Pennsylvania, it's truly 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 Northampton 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 acquired 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 Northampton, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
If you are facing a legal issue of any sort in Northampton, Pennsylvania, you are going to confront civil procedure issues.
It should go without saying that you should have a Northampton, Pennsylvania attorney on hand to deal with any civil procedure issues that you're almost sure to face, if you're engaged in a lawsuit.