Litigation Lawyers in Exeter
"Civil procedure" in Exeter, Rhode Island is a very broad term, and it refers to the wide variety of rules that control 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 Exeter, Rhode Island, 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 Exeter, Rhode Island 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 Exeter, Rhode Island Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: When somebody believes that they have suffered a legal wrong in Exeter, Rhode Island, and decide to file a lawsuit, the first document that they file with the court is normally the complaint. The complaint is very important, because it can frame the factual and legal issues, and set the tone, for the rest of the process. The complaint usually 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 normally the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer usually 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 example, 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 Exeter, Rhode Island were written with the purpose of, among other things, avoiding surprises. For that reason, everyone immersed 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 process, during which the attorneys for both sides are required to disclose (with some exemptions) all information relevant to the trial which they have in their possession. These disclosures come in multiple 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 Exeter, Rhode Island, it's really extremely 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 Exeter are specifically meant to encourage early resolution of legal disputes, without resorting to a costly and time-consuming trial. However, 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 received 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 Exeter, Rhode Island Lawyer Help?
If you are facing a legal issue of any kind in Exeter, Rhode Island, you are going to face civil procedure issues.
Because the rules of civil procedure in Exeter, Rhode Island are complicated, it's smart to have the counsel of an accomplished attorney through every step of the process.