If the defendant chooses to file an answer within the time permitted, the answer must address each of the plaintiffs' allegations. The defendant has three choices to make, which include either admitting to the allegation, denying it, or pleading a lack of sufficient information to admit or deny the allegation. Some jurisdictions, like California and Florida, still authorize general denials of each and every allegation in the complaint. At the time the defendant files an answer, the defendant also raises all "affirmative" defenses. The defendant may also assert counterclaims for damages or equitable relief against the plaintiff. For example, in the case of "compulsory counterclaims," the defendant must assert some form of counterclaim or risk having the counterclaim barred in any subsequent proceeding. In the case of making a counterclaim, the defendant is making a motion directed towards the plaintiff claiming that he/she was injured in some way or would like to sue the plaintiff. The plaintiff in this example would then receive some amount of time to make a reply to this counterclaim. The defendant may also file a "third party complaint", which is the defendant's privilege to join another party or parties in the action with the belief that those parties may be liable for some or all of the plaintiff's claimed damages. An answer from the defendant in response to the claims made against him/her, can also include additional facts or a so-called "excuse" for the plead. Filing an answer "joins the cause" and moves the case into the pre-trial phase.

If you can afford it, find a lawyer who specializes in the area of law that is the subject of the lawsuit. Some attorneys only practice criminal defense, or they specialize in defamation or employment law. You can find an experienced attorney by visiting your state’s bar association website, which runs a referral program. You can search by area of expertise.


Paul Bergman is a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and a recipient of a University Distinguished Teaching Award. His recent books include Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies (Andrews & McMeel); Trial Advocacy: Inferences, Arguments, Techniques (with Moore and Binder, West Publishing Co.); and Represent Yourself In Court and The Criminal Law Handbook (both with Berman-Barrett, Nolo). He has also published numerous articles in law journals.
In civil lawsuits, particularly in  Small Claims Court, you can get a judgment by the Court for money owed you, but you may have great difficulty collecting the money. There are ways the Court can put pressure on the payee, with garnishment or a lien against the property. In these cases, you must be proactive in getting the court to use its power in any legal means necessary to get someone to pay, But, as they say, "you can't get blood from a turnip."
Once you know the elements you'll have to prove to win your case, you can figure out what types of evidence will help you prove each key fact. However, not every kind of evidence can be presented in a courtroom: Complicated rules of evidence determine whether a particular document, statement, or item is admissible in court. Although you don't have to master every detail of these rules, you should do enough research to make sure that you'll be able to present the evidence you need to win.
Cornell’s Legal Information Institute is celebrating Constitution Day by publishing the first publicly-available web version of the Congressional Research Service’s Constitution Annotated, a non-partisan publication that helps readers appreciate how Americans’ collective understanding of our governing principles has changed throughout our history on timely issues such as the scope of presidential power, limits on free speech, or the right to bear arms.  Read More Here 
Once you file the necessary papers to begin a lawsuit, you will face a number of deadlines -- for everything from requestingthat your case be heard by a juryto telling your opponent what evidence you plan to introduce at trial. Make careful note of these deadlines and make sure that you meet every one. The judge won't give you any leeway just because you are representing yourself -- and missing an important deadline could result in your case being thrown out of court.
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His lawyer said he reckoned he would win his lawsuit and get the money if they ever got started on the trial; but then there was ways to put it off a long time, and Judge Thatcher knowed how to do it And he said people allowed there'd be another trial to get me away from him and give me to the widow for my guardian, and they guessed it would win this time.
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“Moreover, while he filed his lawsuit in the state of Virginia, California law applies to this case and it outlines steps to demand corrections for the benefit of any individual who feels he or she has been libeled. In the over 10 months since the winery article appeared, Mr. Nunes has not once availed himself of the statute by writing to the Fresno Bee to demand that it publish a correction to any statement made about him.
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Many people presume that judges issue rulings in court based simply on the facts at hand, without public opinion playing any role at all.  However, history tells us that how judges read laws and constitutions very much reflects where public opinion is (or, at least, what they think the public will accept).   Leading up to the final Supreme Court marriage victory, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview that “there hasn’t been any major change…in which there wasn’t a groundswell among the people before the Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on the inclusion in the equality concept of people who were once left out.” 
Focus field organizing on creating media moments: Litigation-related field efforts should focus on creating media moments that demonstrate support, highlight harms, and create a climate for victory.  Freedom to Marry worked with state organizations in litigation states to organize groupings of supporters that we knew would be newsworthy—Florida First Responders for the Freedom to Marry, Texas Faith Leaders for the Freedom to Marry, etc. Another tactic that created a media moment was launching petitions urging state attorneys general to drop their defense of anti-marriage laws (we’d pursue this only after consultation with the litigation team). The petitions – which always ended with an in-person drop-off featuring children of same-sex couples, adorably wrapped petitions, and families who needed the freedom to marry – were a creative way to build online buzz for the court cases, give supporters a way to get involved with the legal case, and earn some strong media attention that underlined the overarching messages of the campaign.  We’d look to identify the most compelling personal stories that we thought might impact the public.  Additionally, we’d organize Town Hall meetings as a focus point to gather supporters and provide a platform for newsworthy supporters and people with compelling stories.   
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I have been reading Fight your Ticket about California laws for years and don't know what I would do without it. It has helped me win in court and know just what to ask the cop giving the ticket. It helps research and I recommend these books. Now my grand niece is getting her license and does not live in CA so I picked this up for her. I hope she reads it, it really helps get a handle on interactions with the police when you get stopped.


CHICAGO, April 4- The family of an American woman killed in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the airline, Boeing Co and Rosemount Aerospace Inc, the manufacturer of a part of the aircraft that is the focus of investigators. The complaint was filed in U.S. federal court in Chicago by the parents of Samya Stumo, who lawyers...
After a final decision has been made, either party or both may appeal from the judgment if they believe there had been a procedural error made by the trial court. It isn't necessarily an automatic appeal after every judgment has been made, however, if there is a legal basis for the appeal, then one has the right to do so. The prevailing party may appeal, for example, if they wanted a larger award than was granted. The appellate court (which may be structured as an intermediate appellate court) and/or a higher court then affirms the judgment, declines to hear it (which effectively affirms it), reverses—or vacates and remands. This process would then involve sending the lawsuit back to the lower trial court to address an unresolved issue, or possibly request for a whole new trial. Some lawsuits go up and down the appeals ladder repeatedly before final resolution.
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