1. Process – the Plaintiff files a Complaint and Summons:

     This page is continued from Civil Law Self-Help >>>> Civil Proceedings:


     To begin a civil lawsuit in federal court, the plaintiff files a complaint with the court and “serves” a copy of the complaint on the defendant.  The complaint describes the plaintiff’s damages or injury, explains how the defendant caused the harm, shows that the court has jurisdiction, and asks the court to order relief.  A plaintiff may seek money to compensate for the damages, or may ask the court to order the defendant to stop the conduct that is causing the harm.  The court may also order other types of relief, such as a declaration of the legal rights of the plaintiff in a particular situation. [1]

burden of pleading – a party’s duty to plead a matter in order for that matter to be heard in a lawsuit. — aka
burden of allegation

    The plaintiff‘s initial pleading is usually a complaint, but a petition could be filed instead (Fed. Rules. Civ. Proc. Rule 3).

civil complaint – the initial pleading that commences a civil action, stating the basis for the court’s jurisdiction, the basis for the plaintiff’s claim, and the specified demand(s) for relief.



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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: United States Courts, “Civil Cases”: http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/types-cases/civil-cases


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