BL-Chapt3 - Print Chapter Page 1 of 34 Court Procedures...

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Court Procedures Chapter Introduction 3-1 Procedural Rules 3-1a Stages of Litigation 3-1b The First Step: Consulting with an Attorney 3-2 Pretrial Procedures 3-2a The Pleadings 3-2b Dismissals and Judgments before Trial 3-2c Discovery 3-2d Pretrial Conference 3-2e The Right to a Jury Trial 3-2f Jury Selection 3-3 The Trial 3-3a Opening Statements 3-3b Rules of Evidence 3-3c Examination of Witnesses 3-3d Closing Arguments, Jury Instructions, and Verdict 3-4 Posttrial Motions 3-4a Motion for a New Trial 3-4b Motion for Judgment N.O.V. 3-5 The Appeal 3-5a Filing the Appeal 3-5b Appellate Review 3-5c Higher Appellate Courts 3-6 Enforcing the Judgment 3-6a Requesting Court Assistance in Collecting the Judgment 3-6b Availability of Assets Chapter Recap Page 1 of 34 Print Chapter 2010-8-29 ..
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Chapter Introduction American and English courts follow the adversarial system of justice . Although clients are allowed to represent themselves in court (called pro se representation), most parties to lawsuits hire attorneys to represent them. Each lawyer acts as his or her client's advocate, presenting the client's version of the facts in such a way as to convince the judge (or the judge and jury, in a jury trial) that this version is correct. Most of the judicial procedures that you will read about in the following sections are rooted in the adversarial framework of the American legal system. In this chapter, after a brief overview of judicial procedures, we illustrate the steps involved in a lawsuit with a hypothetical civil case (criminal procedures will be discussed in Chapter 9). Page 2 of 34 Print Chapter 2010-8-29 ..
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3-1 3-1a Procedural Rules Stages of Litigation Exhibit 3–1. Stages in a Typical Lawsuit The parties to a lawsuit must comply with the procedural rules of the court in which the lawsuit is filed. Although most people, when considering the outcome of a case, think of matters of substantive law, procedural law can have a significant impact on one's ability to assert a legal claim. Procedural rules provide a framework for every dispute and specify what must be done at each stage of the litigation process. All civil trials held in federal district courts are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) . Each state also has rules of civil procedure that apply to all courts within that state. In addition, each court has its own local rules of procedure that supplement the federal or state rules. Broadly speaking, the litigation process has three phases: pretrial, trial, and posttrial. Each phase involves specific procedures, as discussed throughout this chapter. Although civil lawsuits may vary greatly in terms of complexity, cost, and detail, they typically progress through the specific stages charted in Exhibit 3–1. To illustrate the procedures involved in a civil lawsuit, we will use a simple hypothetical case. The case arose from an
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BL-Chapt3 - Print Chapter Page 1 of 34 Court Procedures...

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