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Chapter 3 Court Procedure
Undergraduate 3

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Six Stages of a Lawsuit
1. Pleadings
2. Discovery
3. Pre-trial Motions
4. Trial- Six Phases
5. Post-Trial Motions
6. Appeal
Trial- Six Phases
1. Voir Dire
2. Opening Statement
3. Plaintiff's Case
4. Defendant's Case
5. Rebuttal by Plaintiff
6. Closing Arguments
First Stage: Pleadings
1. initiates the lawsuit; attempts to state one or more causes of action (valid claims)
2. Served with a summonshe summons will announce to the person to whom it is directed that a legal proceeding has been started against that person, and that a case has been initiated in the issuing court.) requiring an answer to be filed with the court by a certain time or an appearance in court on a certain date (in small claims court)
Responsive Motion or Answer
1. Failure to file can an appropriate response can result in a default judgement which means the defendant loses the case without a trial
2. counter claim is a cause of action against the plaintiff by the defendant may be included with answer
2nd Stage: Discovery
Discovery is the process of gathering information from parties or non-party prior to trial.
4 types of Discovery
Interrogatories: written questions sent to a party which must be answered in writing and under oath
Request for Admissions: written statements sent to a party which must be admitted or denied
Request for Production: a written request sent to a party requiring the delivery of document or objects at a specified place and time.
Deposition- an in person oral examination of a party or a nonparty witness under oath.
3rd Stage: Pre-Trial Motions
Motions filed in the case prior to the time trial begins.
2 Significant Pre-trial Motions:
A. Motion to dismiss: a motion (request to the court) typically filed by the defendant asking the court to throw out the petition
Ex. Failure to state a cause of action; lack of jurisdiction standing
2. Motion for summary judgement:
A motion which may be filed by any party asking for a judgement based upon affidavits and the sworn evidence uncovered during discovery.
B. Requires the court to find that there is no genuine issue of material fact.
4th Stage: Trial- Six Phases
1. Voir Dire means to tell the truth. The potential jurors are questioned under oath about bias or prejudice against or in favor of one of the parties
2. Opening Statement: A statement of the evidence the parties intend to present at trial.
A. Trial Motions- filed in court during the trial
B. Motion for Mistrial- requires a court to find there was an even or an error which makes a fair trial or decision impossible.
C. Motion for directed verdict: requires a court to find that the plaintiff did not present evidence necessary to support a cause of action
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