Substantial assistance is affectionately known as snitching. While it has a bad rap, it is an extremely useful tool when dealing with criminal cases. If you are not yet charged with a crime and are being investigated, providing substantial assistance can actually prevent you from being charged in some cases. If a warrant cannot be prevented with substantial assistance, charges can often be minimized and/or consequences can be reduced, often significantly.
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Lawsuits can become additionally complicated as more parties become involved (see joinder). Within a "single" lawsuit, there can be any number of claims and defenses (all based on numerous laws) between any number of plaintiffs or defendants. Each of these participants can bring any number of cross claims and counterclaims against each other, and even bring additional parties into the suit on either side after it progresses. In reality however, courts typically have some power to sever claims and parties into separate actions if it is more efficient to do so. A court can do this if there is not a sufficient overlap of factual issues between the various associates, separating the issues into different lawsuits.
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