Litigation Lawyers in Pittsburgh
"Civil procedure" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 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.
In Pittsburgh, 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 intricate. So, there is no getting around the fact that the civil procedure rules in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are also going to be somewhat difficult 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 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The complaint is probably the most important document that the plaintiff will file in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 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 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 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 quite rare for lawsuits in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to go to trial. Pittsburgh's civil procedure rules really discourage trials, and rather have designed the system so that it's almost always more cost-effective to settle out of court. Nonetheless, if this is not possible, the matter will go to trial, where a judge and/or jury will decide the factual questions, and then award the appropriate relief (if any) to the prevailing party.
How Can a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
If you're suing anyone, or are being sued, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dealing with issues of civil procedure is going to be a fact of life for quite some time.
Because the rules of civil procedure in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are complicated, it's smart to have the counsel of an accomplished attorney through every step of the process.