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Encyclopedia > Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Civil Procedure
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The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) govern civil procedure in the United States district courts, or more simply, court procedures for civil suits. The FRCP are promulgated by the United States Supreme Court pursuant to the Rules Enabling Act, and then approved by the United States Congress. The Court's modifications to the rules are usually based on recommendations from the Judicial Conference of the United States, the federal judiciary's internal policy-making body. Although federal courts are required to apply the substantive law of the states as rules of decision in cases where state law is in question, the federal courts almost always use the FRCP as their rules of procedure. States make their own rules that apply in their own courts, but most states have adopted rules that are based on the FRCP. Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the process that courts will follow when hearing cases of a civil nature (a civil action). These rules govern how a lawsuit or case may be commenced, what kind of service of process is required, the types of pleadings or... The Civil Procedure Rules 1998 came into force in England & Wales on 26 April 1999, largely replacing and significantly overhauling the previous Rules of the Supreme Court (applicable to the High Court of Justice) and the County Court Rules. ... Civil procedure doctrines are rules developed by case law as opposed to being set down in codes or legislation, which, together with Court Rules / Codes, define the steps that a person involved in a civil lawsuit can, may, or can not take. ... In law, jurisdiction (from the Latin jus, juris meaning law and dicere meaning to speak) is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area... Subject matter jurisdiction is a legal term used in civil procedure to indicate that a case must be entered in the proper court of law based on the nature of the claim. ... Personal jurisdiction, jurisdiction of (or over) the person, or jurisdiction in personam is the power of a court to require a party (usually the defendant) or a witness to come before the court. ... Proper venue is one requirement for a court to be able to hear a case. ... A change of venue is the legal term for moving a trial to a new location. ... Forum non conveniens is Latin for inconvenient forum or inappropriate forum. ... In the United States, removal jurisdiction refers to the power of a defendant to move a lawsuit filed in state court to the Federal district court of the original courts district. ... In the law, a pleading is one of the papers filed with a court in a civil action, such as a complaint, a demurrer, or an answer. ... Service of process is the procedure employed to give legal notice to a person (defendant etc. ... In general use, a complaint is an expression of displeasure, such as poor service at a store, or from a local government, for example. ... In the law, a cause of action is a recognized kind of legal claim that a plaintiff pleads or alleges in a complaint to start a lawsuit. ... In law, a class action is an equitable procedural device used in litigation for determining the rights of and remedies, if any, for large numbers of people whose cases involve common questions of law and fact. ... The U.S. Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, 28 U.S.C. Sections 1332(d), 1453, and 1711-1715, grants federal courts original jurisdiction over certain mass actions and class actions (forms of civil action) in which the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, and any of the members... In common law civil procedure, a demurrer is a pleading by the defendant that contests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. ... In the common law, an answer is the first pleading by a defendant, usually filed and served upon the plaintiff within a certain strict time limit after a civil complaint or criminal information or indictment has been served upon the defendant. ... An affirmative defense is a defense used in litigation between private parties in common law jurisdictions. ... The reply is a response by plaintiff to defedants answer. ... A Counterclaim is made by the defendant to a civil procedure, in a main actions against the plaintiff or against the plaintiff and other persons. ... A cross-claim is a claim brought against a co-party in the same side of a lawsuit. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Interpleader is a device allowed in U.S. civil litigation. ... In law, discovery is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit in which each party through the law of civil procedure can request documents and other evidence from other parties or can compel the production of evidence by using a subpoena or through other discovery devices, such as requests for... In law, interrogatories are a formal set of written questions propounded by one litigant and required to be answered by an adversary, in order to clarify matters of evidence and help to determine in advance what facts will be presented at any trial in the case. ... Deposition is a word used in many fields to describe different processes: In law, deposition is the taking of testimony outside of court. ... Default judgment is a binding judgment in favor of the plaintiff when the defendant has not responded to a summons or has failed to appear before a court. ... Summary judgment in U.S. legal practice is a judgment awarded by the court prior to trial, based upon the courts finding that: (1) there are no issues of material fact requiring a trial for their resolution, and (2) in applying the law to the undisputed facts, one party... Voluntary dismissal is when a law suit is terminated by request of the plaintiff (the party originally bringing the suit to court). ... Involuntary dismissal is the termination of a court case despite the plaintiffs objection. ... In law there are two main meanings of the word settlement. ... In legal parlance, a trial is an event in which parties to a dispute present information (in the form of evidence) in a formal setting, usually a court, before a judge, jury, or other designated finder of fact, in order to achieve a resolution to their dispute. ... A party is a person or group of persons that compose a single entity which can be identified as one for the purposes of the law. ... A plaintiff, also known as a claimant or complainant, is the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an action) before a court. ... A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. ... A jury is a sworn body of persons convened to render a rational, impartial verdict and a finding of fact on a legal question officially submitted to them, or to set a penalty or judgment in a jury trial of a court of law. ... The phrase voir dire derives from Middle French; in modern English it is interpreted to mean speak the truth and generally refers to the process by which prospective jurors are questioned about their backgrounds and potential biases before being invited to sit on a jury. ... In the common law, burden of proof is the obligation to prove allegations which are presented in a legal action. ... A judgment or judgement (see spelling note below), in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit. ... Judgment as a matter of law(JMOL) is a motion made by a party, during trial, claiming the opposing party has insufficient evidence to reasonably support its case. ... Renewed judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) is the partner of judgment as a matter of law in American Federal courts. ... Judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or J.N.O.V. for short (English Judgment + Latin Non Obstante Veredicto) is the practice in American courts whereby the presiding judge in a civil case may overrule the decision of a jury and reverse or amend their verdict. ... In law, a motion to set aside judgment is an application to overturn or set aside a courts judgment, verdict or other final ruling in a case. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Trial de novo. ... In law, a Judicial remedy is the means by which a court, usually in the exercise of civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes some other court order. ... An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order that either prohibits or compels (restrains or enjoins) a party from continuing a particular activity. ... In law, damages refers either to the harm suffered by a claimant in a civil action, or to the money paid or awarded to the plaintiff in compensation for such harm. ... Attorneys fees or attorneys fees are the costs of legal representation that an attorneys client or a party to a lawsuit incurs. ... The American Rule is a rule regarding assessment of attorneys fees arising out of litigation. ... The English Rule is a rule regarding assessment of attorneys fees arising out of litigation. ... A declaratory judgment is a judgment of a court which declares what rights each party in a dispute should have, but does not order any action or result in any legal damages. ... An appeal is the act or fact of challenging a judicially cognizable and binding judgment to a higher judicial authority. ... A writ of mandamus or simply mandamus, which means we order in Latin, is the name of one of the prerogative writs and is a court order directing someone, most frequently a government official, to perform a specified act. ... This law-related article does not cite its references or sources. ... Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the process that courts will follow when hearing cases of a civil nature (a civil action). These rules govern how a lawsuit or case may be commenced, what kind of service of process is required, the types of pleadings or... Map of the boundaries of the United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. ... A lawsuit is a civil action brought before a court in order to recover a right, obtain damages for an injury, obtain an injunction to prevent an injury, or obtain a declaratory judgment to prevent future legal disputes. ... The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the judicial branch of the United States federal government. ... The Rules Enabling Act is a 1934 United States Congressional act that gave the judicial branch the power to promulgate the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ... Seal of the U.S. Congress. ... The Judicial Conference of the United States, formerly known as the Conference of Senior Circuit Judges, was created by the US Congress in 1922, with the principal objective of framing policy guidelines for administration of judicial courts in the United States of America. ... Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the process that courts will follow when hearing cases of a civil nature (a civil action). These rules govern how a lawsuit or case may be commenced, what kind of service of process is required, the types of pleadings or... In the U.S., a state court has jurisdiction over disputes which occur in a state. ...


The rules, established in 1938, replaced the earlier Field Code and common law pleadings. They have undergone significant revisions in 1948, 1963, 1966, 1970, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1993, and 2000. (The FRCP contains a notes section which details the changes of each revision since 1938, explaining the rationale behind the wording). A new set of revisions to the FRCP is expected to take effect in December 2006, with practical changes in discovery rules that will make it easier for courts and litigating parties to manage electronic records. 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... In law, discovery is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit in which each party through the law of civil procedure can request documents and other evidence from other parties or can compel the production of evidence by using a subpoena or through other discovery devices, such as requests for...


Before the FRCP were established, common law pleading was more formal, traditional, and particular in its phrases and requirements. For example, a plaintiff bringing a trespass suit would have to mention certain key words in his complaint or risk it being dismissed with prejudice. In contrast, the FRCP is based on a legal construction called notice pleading, which is less formal, created and modified by legal experts, and far less technical in requirements. In notice pleading, the same plaintiff bringing suit would not face dismissal for lack of the exact legal term, so long as the claim itself was legally actionable. The policy behind this change is to simply give "notice" of your grievances, and leave the details for later in the case. This acts in the interest of equity by concentrating on the actual law and not the exact construction of pleas. This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... A sign warning against trespassing In law, trespass can be: the criminal act of going into somebody elses land or property without permission of the owner or lessee; it is also a civil law tort that may be a valid cause of action to seek judicial relief and possibly... Dismissal may refer to: In litigation, a dismissal the result of a successful motion to dismiss. ... In the law, a pleading is one of the papers filed with a court in a civil action, such as a complaint, a demurrer, or an answer. ... This article is about law in society. ... The Court of Chancery, London, early 19th century This article is about concept of equity in Anglo-American jurisprudence. ...


In addition to notice pleading, a minority of states (e.g. California) use an intermediate system known as Code Pleading. Code pleading is an older system than notice pleading, and is based on legislative statute. It tends to straddle the gulf between obsolete common law pleading and modern notice pleading. Code pleading places additional burdens on a party to plea the "ultimate facts" of their case, that is, laying out the party's entire case. Notice pleading, in the contrary, simply requires a "short and plain statement" showing only that the pleader is entitled to relief. (FRCP 8(a)(2)). The exception to this rule is, when a plaintiff alleges fraud the plaintiff must plead the facts of the alleged fraud with particularity. Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... In the art of sculpture, a relief is an artwork where a modelled form projects out of a flat background. ... Look up fact in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


(The Field Code was an intermediate step between common law and modern rules, created by New York attorney David Dudley Field. Adopted 1848–50. Field's code, among other reforms, merged law and equity proceedings into one.) Official language(s) English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  Ranked 27th  - Total 54,520 sq mi (141,205 km²)  - Width 285 miles (455 km)  - Length 330 miles (530 km)  - % water 13. ... David Dudley Field (February 13, 1805 - April 13, 1894) was an American lawyer and law reformer. ...

Contents


Categories of Rules

There are 86 rules in the FRCP which are grouped into 11 categories. Listed below are the most commonly used categories and rules.


Category I - Scope of the FRCP

Rules 1 and 2.


Category I is a sort of "mission statement" for the FRCP, especially Rule 1, which states that the rules "shall be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action." Rule 2 unified the procedure of law and equity in the federal courts by specifying that there shall be one form of action, the "civil action." A lawsuit is a civil action brought before a court in which the party commencing the action, the plaintiff, seeks a legal remedy. ...


Category II - Commencement of Suits

Rules 3 to 6.


Category II covers commencement of civil suits including filing, summons, and service of process. Service of process is the procedure employed to give legal notice to a person (defendant etc. ...


Category III - Pleadings and Motions

Rules 7 to 16.


Category III covers pleadings, motions, defenses, and counterclaims. The plaintiff's original pleading is called a complaint. The defendant's original pleading is called an answer. In the law, a pleading is one of the papers filed with a court in a civil action, such as a complaint, a demurrer, or an answer. ... This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... A Counterclaim is made by the defendant to a civil procedure, in a main actions against the plaintiff or against the plaintiff and other persons. ... In general use, a complaint is an expression of displeasure, such as poor service at a store, or from a local government, for example. ... In the common law, an answer is the first pleading by a defendant, usually filed and served upon the plaintiff within a certain strict time limit after a civil complaint or criminal information or indictment has been served upon the defendant. ...


Rule 8(a) sets out the plaintiff's requirements for claim: a "short and plain statement" of jurisdiction, a "short and plain statement" of the claim, and a demand for judgment. It also allows relief in the alternative. In law, jurisdiction (from the Latin jus, juris meaning law and dicere meaning to speak) is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area...


Rule 8(b) states that the defendant's answer needs to admit or deny every element of the plaintiff's claim. A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. ... In the common law, an answer is the first pleading by a defendant, usually filed and served upon the plaintiff within a certain strict time limit after a civil complaint or criminal information or indictment has been served upon the defendant. ...


Rule 8(c) also requires that the defendant's answer state any affirmative defenses. A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. ... An affirmative defense is a defense used in litigation between private parties in common law jurisdictions. ...


Rule 11 requires all papers to be signed by the attorney. It also provides for sanctions against the attorney or client for harassment, frivolous arguments, or a lack of factual investigation. The purpose of sanctions is deterrent, not punitive. Courts have broad discretion about the exact nature of the sanction which can include: consent to in personam jurisdiction, fines, dismissal of claims, or dismissal of the entire case. The current version of Rule 11 is much more lenient than its 1980s version. Supporters of tort reform in Congress regularly call for legislation to make Rule 11 stricter. Sanctions is the plural of sanction (see also penalty). ... Tort reform is the phrase used by its advocates who claim it is a change in the legal system to reduce litigations alleged adverse effects on the economy. ...


Rule 12(b) describes pretrial motions that can be filed.

  1. lack of subject matter jurisdiction
  2. lack of personal jurisdiction
  3. improper venue
  4. insufficient process
  5. insufficient service of process
  6. failure to state a claim
  7. failure to join a party under Rule 19.

Rule 12(b)(6) is how lawsuits with insufficient legal theories underlying their cause of action are thrown out of court. For instance, assault requires intent. If the plaintiff has failed to plead intent, the cause of action can be dismissed via 12(b)(6). The is the first of three procedural hurdles a cause of action must pass over before it gets to a trial. A 12(b)(6) motion cannot include additional evidence such as affidavits. For getting rid of claims with insufficient factual basis (where the movant must submit additional facts to demonstrate the factual weakness in the plaintiff's case), a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment is used. 12(b)(6) motions replaced the common law demurrer. Subject matter jurisdiction is a legal term used in civil procedure to indicate that a case must be entered in the proper court of law based on the nature of the claim. ... Personal jurisdiction, jurisdiction of (or over) the person, or jurisdiction in personam is the power of a court to require a party (usually the defendant) or a witness to come before the court. ... A Venue is the location of an event, usually a meeting. ... Service of process is the procedure employed to give legal notice to a person (defendant etc. ... In the law, a cause of action is a recognized kind of legal claim that a plaintiff pleads or alleges in a complaint to start a lawsuit. ... Intent in law is the planning and desire to perform an act. ... In the law, a cause of action is a recognized kind of legal claim that a plaintiff pleads or alleges in a complaint to start a lawsuit. ... An affidavit is a formal sworn statement of fact, signed by the declarant (who is called the affiant), and witnessed (as to the veracity of the affiants signature) by a taker of oaths, such as a notary public. ... Summary judgment in U.S. legal practice is a judgment awarded by the court prior to trial, based upon the courts finding that: (1) there are no issues of material fact requiring a trial for their resolution, and (2) in applying the law to the undisputed facts, one party... In common law civil procedure, a demurrer is a pleading by the defendant that contests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. ...


Rule 13 describes when a defendant is allowed or required to assert claims against other parties to the suit. The law encourages people to resolve all of their differences as efficiently as possible, so in many jurisdictions counterclaims that arise out of the same transaction or occurrence (compulsory counterclaims) must be brought during the original suit or they will be barred from future litigation.


Category IV - Parties

Rules 17 to 25.


Rule 20 Permissive Joinder of Parties Joinder of parties at common law was controlled by the substantive rules of law, often as reflected in the forms of action, rather than by notions of judicial economy and trial convenience. Permissive joinder of plaintiffs allows the plaintiffs having an option to join their claims when they were not joint. (Ryder v. Jefferson Hotel co.) To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Category V - Discovery

Rules 26 to 37.


Category V covers the rules of discovery. Modern civil litigation is based upon the idea that the parties should not be subject to surprises at trial. Discovery is the process whereby civil litigants seek to obtain information both from other parties and from non parties (or third parties). Parties have a series of tools with which they can obtain information: 1) Document requests: a party can seek documents and other real objects from parties and non parties 2) Interrogatories: a party can require other parties to answer questions 3) Requests for admissions: A party can require other parties to admit or deny the truth of certain statements 4) Depositions: A party can require individuals or representatives of organizations to make themselves available for questioning. In law, discovery is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit in which each party through the law of civil procedure can request documents and other evidence from other parties or can compel the production of evidence by using a subpoena or through other discovery devices, such as requests for... In law, interrogatories are a formal set of written questions propounded by one litigant and required to be answered by an adversary, in order to clarify matters of evidence and help to determine in advance what facts will be presented at any trial in the case. ... Deposition is a word used in many fields to describe different processes: In law, deposition is the taking of testimony outside of court. ...


Federal Procedure also requires parties to divulge certain information without a formal discovery request, in contrast to many state courts where most discovery can only be had by request.


Category VI - Trial

Rules 38 to 53.


Category VII - Judgment

Rules 54 to 63.


Category VIII - Provisional and Final Remedies and Special Proceedings

Rules 64 to 71.


Category IX - Special Proceedings

Rules 72 to 76.


Category X - District Courts and Clerks

Rules 77 to 80.


Category XI - General Provisions

Rules 81 to 86.


External links

  • FRCP and other Electronic Discovery webcasts
  • Complete text of FRCP
  • O'Connor's Federal Rules * Civil Trials

  Results from FactBites:
 
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (610 words)
The FRCP are promulgated by the United States Supreme Court pursuant to the Rules Enabling Act, and then approved by the United States Congress.
Although federal courts are required to apply the substantive law of the states as rules of decision in cases where state law is in question, the federal courts almost always use the FRCP as their rules of procedure.
Rule 12(b)(6) is how lawsuits with insufficient legal theories underlying their cause of action are thrown out of court.
Civil procedure - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (344 words)
Civil procedure is the written set of rules that sets out the process that courts will follow when hearing cases of a civil nature (a "civil action").
The United States federal court system adopted the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on September 16, 1938 before which time there were varying rules that governed different types of civil cases such as cases at law or in equity or in admiralty.
California is the odd exception in that its homegrown civil procedure system is enshrined in statutory law (the Code of Civil Procedure), not in rules promulgated by the state supreme court or the state bar association.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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