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Civil Process in American Law

  • AD 1

    Jurisdiction and venue

    Jurisdiction and venue
    *Jurisdictional requirements are satisfied when the court has legal authority over both the subject matter and the person of the defendant.
    *Jurisdiction deals with a court’s authority to exercise judicial power.
    *Venue means the place where that power should be exercised.
  • 2

    Filling a civil suit

    Filling a civil suit
    *The plaintiff ’s attorney pays a fee and files a complaint or petition with the clerk of the proper court.
    *This complaint states the factas, the damges and the judgement or relief being sought
  • 3

    Attachment to a summon

    Attachment to a summon
    *The court clerk will attach a copy of the complaint to a summons, which is then issued to the defendant.
  • 4

    The pleading

    The pleading
    *The summons directs the defendant to file a response, known as a pleading, within a certain period of time (usually 30 days).
    *If the defendant does not do so, then he or she may be subject to a default judgment.
  • 5

    Motions

    Motions
    Once the summons has been served on the defendant, a number of motions can be made by the defense attorney:
    *A motion to quash requests that the court void the summons on the ground that it was not properly served.
    *A motion to clarify or to object the plaintiff´s petition
    *A motion to dismiss may argue that the court lacks jurisdiction, or it may insist that the plaintiff has not presented a legally sound basis for action against the defendant even if the allegations are true.
  • Period: 5 to 8

    Pre Trial

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    Answer to the motion

    Answer to the motion
    *The defendant submits an answer to the complaint.
    *The response may contain admissions, denials, defenses, and counterclaims
  • 7

    Discovery

    Discovery
    -Each party is entitled to information in the possession of the other.
    -Some tools of discovery are:
    *A deposition:
    *Interrogatories
    *Production of documents
    *Examination by a physician
  • 8

    Pretrial Conference

    Pretrial Conference
    *Before going to court, the judge may call a pretrial conference to discuss the issues in the case informally with the opposing attorneys.
    *At this meeting, the judge and the attorneys try:
    i.To come to agreement on uncontested factual issues, which are known as stipulations: The purpose of stipulations is to make the actual trial more efficient by reducing the number of issues that must be argued in court.
    ii. To settle the case.
    iii. To share list of witnesses and documents.
  • Period: 8 to 18

    Trial

  • 9

    Selection of Jury

    Selection of Jury
    *Jurors must be selected in a random manner from a fair cross-section of the community.
    *Types of panels:
    i. A large panel of jurors is called to the courthouse.
    ii. A smaller group of prospective jurors is called to the courtroom.
    *The judge must follow with the voir dire (speak the truth) examination and respect the exercise of dismissal for cause and the peremptory challenges (lawyers excusing a juror without stating any reason).
  • 10

    Opening statements

    Opening statements
    *The plaintiff ’s attorney begins and the defendant´s attorney afterward.
    *The attorneys explains to the jury:
    i. What they expect to prove and
    ii. Their version of the case.
    *Opening statements are valuable because they outline the case and make it easier for the jury to understand the evidence as it is presented.
  • 11

    Presentation of the plaintiff's case

    Presentation of the plaintiff's case
    *In presenting the case, the plaintiff ’s lawyer will normally call witnesses to testify (direct examination and cross-examine) and produce documents or other exhibits (Later evidence).
  • 12

    Motion for directed verdict

    Motion for directed verdict
    *After the plaintiff ’s case has been rested, the defendant will often make a motion for a directed verdict.
    *In a motion for directed verdict, the defendant is saying that the plaintiff has not proved his or her case and thus should lose.
    *The judge must then decide whether the plaintiff could win or lose, to admit or deny the motion.
  • 13

    Presentation of the defendant's case

    Presentation of the defendant's case
    *The defendant’s side is second to present and attempt to prove its case to the jury.
    * In presenting the case, the defendant’s lawyer will normally call witnesses to testify and produce documents or other exhibits.
  • 14

    Plaintiff´s rebuttal

    Plaintiff´s rebuttal
    *After the presentation of the defendant´s case, the plaintiff may bring forth rebuttal evidence, which is aimed at refuting the defendant’s evidence
  • 15

    Answer to plaintiff's rebuttal

    Answer to plaintiff's rebuttal
    *The defendant’s lawyer may present evidence to counter the rebuttal evidence.
  • 16

    Closing statements

    Closing statements
    *After all the evidence has been presented, the lawyers make closing arguments, or summations, to the jury.
    *The defendant’s attorney speaks first, and the plaintiff´s attorney afterwards.
    *In this stage of the process each attorney attacks the opponent’s evidence for its unreliability and may also attempt to discredit the opponent’s witnesses.
  • 17

    The instruction of the jury

    The instruction of the jury
    *The instructions to the jury follow the conclusion of the closing arguments
  • 18

    The verdict

    The verdict
    The verdict, represents the jurors’ agreement after detailed discussions and analyses of the evidence.
  • 19

    Post-trial motions

    Post-trial motions
    Once the verdict has been reached, a dissatisfied party may pursue a variety of tactics:
    *A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict
    *A motion for a new trial
    *A motion for relief from judgment
  • Period: 19 to 21

    Post Trial

  • 20

    Judgment and execution

    Judgment and execution
    *The judge can make:
    i. An order to execute: the execution is issued to the sheriff and orders the sheriff to seize the defendant’s property and sell it at auction to satisfy the judgment.
    ii. An order a lien: the legal right to hold property that may be used for the payment of the judgment.
  • 21

    Appeal

    Appeal
    *If one party feels that an error of law was made during the trial, and if the judge refuses to grant a posttrial motion for a new trial, then the dissatisfied party may appeal to a higher court