Litigation Lawyers in Richland County
"Civil procedure" in Richland County, South Carolina 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.
The civil procedure rules in Richland County, South Carolina are designed around a few simple goals for the civil litigation system: efficiency, accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and, most especially, fairness.
Richland County, South Carolina's civil procedure rules can get pretty confusing, however. They regulate every aspect of a civil action, from the filing of the complaint, to discovery, and all the way through trial and appeals.
Major Richland County, South Carolina Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The initial, and perhaps most significant, part of filing a lawsuit in Richland County, South Carolina is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Richland County, South Carolina that's responsible for handling civil trials. It lists everything that the plaintiff (the person who is suing) alleges against the defendant (the person the plaintiff is suing). Typically, but not always, the end of the complaint will contain a "prayer for relief." The prayer for relief is just a statement of what the plaintiff is asking the court to do to remedy the harm that the defendant allegedly caused.
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 Richland County, South Carolina 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: It is truly quite rare for civil lawsuits in Richland County, South Carolina to go to trial, since the rules of civil procedure in Richland County highly encourage early resolution to cases by dismissal of lawsuits that have no merit, and negotiated settlement of those that do. Nonetheless, when neither of those things happen, the case goes to trial. This is when a judge and jury determine the questions of law and fact, respectively, raised in the case. The jury then issues a verdict, based on the evidence presented to them.
How Can a Richland County, South Carolina Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any substantial legal issue in Richland County, South Carolina, you can be pretty much sure that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
Because the rules of civil procedure in Richland County, South Carolina are intricate, it's smart to have the counsel of an efficient attorney through every step of the process.