In United States of America, litigation procedures have defined steps and all litigation filed goes through those steps. However, the parties are at liberty to stop the legal proceeding at any point of time by settling the dispute outside the court. The process of conducting a lawsuit is called litigation.
A litigation procedure in United States of America usually has the following steps:
Pleading: Pleading is the first step where the plaintiff(s) files a formal complaint with court and the court in turn delivers the copy of complaint to the defendant(s). The complaint should have details about the harm caused and the legal provisions under which the complaint is charged. The service notice to defendant gives a time limit to him within which an answer should be filed to defense the charges levied.
Pretrial Discovery: Usually the longest period of any trail, it is the second step and involves discovering the facts and data concerning the law suit filed. It includes gathering information from expert witnesses, legal provisions and relevant past cases. Before trial starts, the parties may call for motion action asking the court to rule or act. The trial dates are determined by the court based on the problem presented.
Trial: Post discovery, the parties presents evidence to support their case in front of the judge or jury. Once all the evidence is presented, the closing arguments are provided by the parties. Based on all these facts, information and legal provisions, the judge or jury passes the verdict. The court sees to it that the verdict is duly enforced.
Appeal: Then is also a provision for appeal to higher courts. The review is done usually for legal error. If error is found then verdict can be reversed or may ask the trail court to start the trail again.