Litigation Lawyers in West Chester
"Civil procedure" in West Chester, Pennsylvania is a very broad term, and it refers to the wide variety of rules that regulate how civil litigation is conducted. It is to be distinguished from substantive law, which governs the rights that civil litigation is meant to vindicate.
In West Chester, Pennsylvania, the civil procedure rules are meant to ensure that the civil litigation system is as efficient, accessible, fair, and cost-effective as possible.
Civil litigation in West Chester, Pennsylvania is almost never a simple process. So, the rules governing this process can't always be simple, either. Remember, civil procedure covers every single step of the civil litigation process, which can drag on for years.
Major West Chester, Pennsylvania Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: Perhaps the most important part of filing a lawsuit in West Chester, Pennsylvania is the complaint. The complaint is a document filed with a West Chester, Pennsylvania court that lays out the plaintiff's (the person filing the suit) allegations against the defendant (the person being sued), as well as the relief that the plaintiff is seeking from the court.
Answer: The answer is usually the first document that the defendant files, and it is meant to serve as a direct response to the plaintiff's complaint. It usually denies all of the plaintiff's major allegations. It might also lay out affirmative defenses. An "affirmative defense" is a set of circumstances that negate the defendant's liability even if their conduct would ordinarily be unlawful. For example, in a lawsuit for battery, a defendant might admit that he struck the plaintiff, but claim that he acted in self-defense. If that can be proven, it would negate, or mitigate, his liability to the plaintiff.
Discovery: Once both sides have fired their opening volleys in the form of the complaint and answer, the next process in civil litigation in West Chester, Pennsylvania is discovery. Under the civil procedure rules of most jurisdictions in the U.S., each side of a lawsuit is required 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: it's actually very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in West Chester, Pennsylvania, because the rules of civil procedure in West Chester, and nearly everywhere else, encourage speedy resolution of legal disputes, before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is largely accomplished by judges dismissing cases that clearly have no merit, or the parties settling out of court. However, 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 decide the issues.
How Can a West Chester, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
If you are dealing with a lawsuit in West Chester, Pennsylvania, it's almost certain that you will have to deal with issues concerning civil procedure.
Civil Procedure in West Chester, Pennsylvania can be pretty complicated. It's always a good idea to have a lawyer who can advise you on how best to deal with these civil procedure issues.