You've Been Served

A guide to help you through the judicial process

Understanding the Judge.

So, you have been served with court summons and now you're lost and don't know what to do! In court, you are going to be the defendant. Which means you are the one being accused. You have been accused by the Plaintiff, or the person who is the person accusing you. A fair trial is your right as a U.S citizen. If arbitration is agreed upon, the parties opt for a private dispute resolution procedure instead of going to court. If not, you will make an appeal and the judge will give the verdict. The verdict is the decision between ruling the defendant guilty or not guilty. Sometimes the verdict is a tough call, but if there is preponderance of evidence, it means that there is proof beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.

Before the Trial there will be a pretrial in which the judge and your lawyer will meet to discuss the case

Before the Trial there will be a pretrial conference in which the judge and your lawyer will meet to discuss the case, specifically the plaintiff's complaint and both parties pleadings, which state their position in the lawsuit. If necessary there will be mediation to help keep peace while both parties work out a settlement.

What is a complaint and why is it significant?

Please take time to look over the complaint thoroughly with your lawyer. A complaint is the legal document that states the plaintiff's claims against the defendant.