Lawsuits: Fiction v. Reality (part 2)

Step 1: Pleadings

The first step involves one party filing a complaint. This can include:

A complaint in which the plaintiff bringing the suit must set forth the facts supporting the claims and state the causes of action.

  • An answer during which a defendant must admit, deny or deny knowledge of any alleged facts in the complaint.
  • Affirmative defenses, which involve the defendant providing justifications to the complaint.
  • A counterclaim, which is filed when the defendant brings an action against the plaintiff. This means that if you file a lawsuit against someone, he or she might sue you back. If this happens, you now need to defend yourself.
  • A reply to counterclaims, which is similar to an answer.

Step 2: Discovery

After the pleadings, the lawsuit enters the discovery stage. Usually discovery entails:

  • Depositions, where the parties can depose (or interview) under oath the other party before the trial.
  • Interrogatories, which involve each party can ask written questions of the other party prior to trial.
  • Document demands, when each party can request relevant documents from the other party.
  • Subpoenas, which are orders compelling individuals or organizations to produce documents, answer written questions or be interviewed under oath.

Step 3: Motions

A motion is basically a request or an application to a court asking for a ruling. There are many different types of motions as there are pre-trial and post-trial motions. Some of the motions are:

  • To dismiss the case outright before answering the complaint.
  • For summary judgment for the court to make its decision when there is no dispute in facts and no need to proceed to trial,
  • To compel, usually when a party is not providing documentary evidence or required information;
  • To strike usually when a party is violating an Order.
  • To renew or re-argue a previous motion.
  • For pendente lite support, which is a temporary financial support sought during a divorce proceeding.
  • To enforce, this kind of motion asks the judge to enforce the Order and/or to hold the other party in contempt for not following the court’s Order. You can also ask the judge to award you any unpaid money, including child support or spousal support.

About teperlaw

I am an attorney practicing family law, immigration and wills and estate planning. You can find out more about me and my firm by visiting my website at: 106 W. Franklin Ave. Pennington, NJ 08534 (609) 737-3030
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