Rathbone & Rathbone
Civil Defense Attorneys: We Care
Experienced in all Facets of Civil Law:
Contracts: Money/debts owed, property, housing (eviction, foreclosure, bad living conditions)
Personal Injury: Car accidents, medical malpractice, environmental harm
Marriage/Children: Divorce, child custody, child support, guardianship
Understand the Process
You hire Rathbone & Rathbone as your attorney, & we file compliant on your behalf. Complaint is formal statement that names parties/issues involved w/lawsuit.
Rathbone & Rathbone will file paperwork ordering court summons for defendant to appear in court on spec. date.
Defendant or his/her attorney will send response letter to charges. Will state that def. is either admitting guilt or giving reasons they are not. Complaint & its response are called pleadings.
Judge will call Pretrial Conference. Gives plaintiff (you) & defendant (person or entity you have issue with) a chance to clarify your differences.
At this point you will have 3 options:
1. Proceed to trial
2. Decide to resolve your dispute through process where 3rd party helps facilitate discussion/helps you come to consensus. This is called mediation.
3. Use arbitration, where 3rd party settles dispute for you. Important to know that decision would be binding.
If you choose jury trial:
Case will be heard by jury of 6-12 people or judge. Plaintiff presents 1st & must prove case w/enough evidence to convince judge/jury that def. is responsible for damages. Called "preponderance of evidence".
Next: judge or jury issues verdict/decision in favor of you (plaintiff) or defendant.
You may appeal to higher court if you are unhappy w/judge's verdict.
Civil Court can be frightening & time consuming.