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I started a Civil Suit Pro Se what deadlines should i be aware of?

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I started to file a civil suit prose, I just need a framework or checklist to have, I plan to have a notebook handy to check off what has been completed and what needs to be done.

I filed suit, got to serve the entity, waiting for a response (request for admissions, discovery, etc) the servicer went to the court to confirm it was serviced.

So what are the next steps and/or deadlines?

Thanks in advance for the help..

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I started to file a civil suit prose

What does "started to file" mean? Either you filed or you didn't file, and it sounds like you filed. Right?

I filed suit, got to serve the entity, waiting for a response (request for admissions, discovery, etc) the servicer went to the court to confirm it was serviced.

Not sure what this means (in particular "the servicer went to the court to confirm it was serviced"). Have you served discovery in addition to serving the summons and complaint? If so, you need to be aware that, in many jurisdictions, there are restrictions on the plaintiff serving discovery at the outset of the case.

I just need a framework or checklist to have, I plan to have a notebook handy to check off what has been completed and what needs to be done.

. . .

So what are the next steps and/or deadlines?

Depends on the laws of the unidentified state and the rules of the court where your case is filed.

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To learn more about what your next steps should be, visit Legal Street to locate a local lawyer in your area who will be able to advise you of your rights. For less than $13 a month, you can have unlimited access to qualified local lawyers to help you with most of your legal needs.

Best of luck.

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I started to file a civil suit prose, I just need a framework or checklist to have, I plan to have a notebook handy to check off what has been completed and what needs to be done.

The rules that apply to civil litigation vary depending on the court in which the lawsuit is filed (e.g. federal district court, Pennsylvania court of common pleas, California superior court, Colorado county court, etc) and you did not indicate the court in which you have apparently filed the lawsuit. It won't be a simple matter of giving you some sort of check list of things to do, litigation is not that kind of cookie cutter activity where every lawsuit follows the exact same sequence. Each lawsuit is different, and what you need to do will depend on the claims you’ve made, how the defendant responds, and what evidence there is on each side. That said, there will be some things that are pretty standard in most cases. Without knowing the court in which the case will be litigated, all I can recommend to you is that you go to a local library and see if there is a comprehensive treatise that covers civil litigation in that court that you can consult as a guide.

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Once the proof of service is filed, on the most basic level, your done. You will receive in the mail the date and time of the hearing. If the defendant files an answer or anything else, you will receive that in the mail and have a chance to file something in return. In terms of checklists etc though, your next step is just to wait for the hearing date in the mail from the court and go to the court hearing with whatever you have.

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What does "started to file" mean? Either you filed or you didn't file, and it sounds like you filed. Right?

Not sure what this means (in particular "the servicer went to the court to confirm it was serviced"). Have you served discovery in addition to serving the summons and complaint? If so, you need to be aware that, in many jurisdictions, there are restrictions on the plaintiff serving discovery at the outset of the case.

Depends on the laws of the unidentified state and the rules of the court where your case is filed.

What does "started to file" mean? Either you filed or you didn't file, and it sounds like you filed. Right?

Not sure what this means (in particular "the servicer went to the court to confirm it was serviced"). Have you served discovery in addition to serving the summons and complaint? If so, you need to be aware that, in many jurisdictions, there are restrictions on the plaintiff serving discovery at the outset of the case.

Depends on the laws of the unidentified state and the rules of the court where your case is filed.

What does "started to file" mean? Either you filed or you didn't file, and it sounds like you filed. Right? Not sure what this means (in particular "the servicer went to the court to confirm it was serviced"). Have you served discovery in addition to serving the summons and complaint? If so, you need to be aware that, in many jurisdictions, there are restrictions on the plaintiff serving discovery at the outset of the case. Depends on the laws of the unidentified state and the rules of the court where your case is filed.

Yes, I did File the suit.

Both the complaint and request for discovery were made at the outset of the case.

I am waiting for a response. Should I file with the court that the defendant has been served? (What I meant to say is the individual whom served would file that information with the court. (it is on Texas)

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Once the proof of service is filed, on the most basic level, your done. You will receive in the mail the date and time of the hearing. If the defendant files an answer or anything else, you will receive that in the mail and have a chance to file something in return. In terms of checklists etc though, your next step is just to wait for the hearing date in the mail from the court and go to the court hearing with whatever you have.

THANKS! This is new to me. I really don't want to compare it to anything that Ive done before (Like building a house) but I know that there is more to come. If I compare it to building a house, I guess I am waiting for the architect to give me the blueprints.

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Once the proof of service is filed, on the most basic level, your done. You will receive in the mail the date and time of the hearing. If the defendant files an answer or anything else, you will receive that in the mail and have a chance to file something in return. In terms of checklists etc though, your next step is just to wait for the hearing date in the mail from the court and go to the court hearing with whatever you have.

That is the way it works with some state’s small claims court procedures. But it is not the how it works in most courts other than small claims court. Again, it’s extremely important to know in what court this is taking place. Your follow-up indicates the lawsuit is in a Texas Court. But what type of Texas court? Texas has lot of different kinds of courts. There are small claims cases in Justice Courts. There are some civil cases heard in Municipal Courts. There are also Constitutional County Courts, Statutory County Courts, and District Courts, along with probate courts that hear civil actions, too. The rules vary depending on which type of court it is.

If it is small claims court, then the Texas Bar has a pretty detailed publication that tells you what to do. You will find that here:

How to Sue in Small Claims Court

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Once the proof of service is filed, on the most basic level, your done. You will receive in the mail the date and time of the hearing.

What hearing? In any given civil action, there may be any number of hearings. Or the parties may never set foot in the courtroom until the time of trial. Your response seems to be based on an assumption that this is a small claims action, but nothing in the original post or any of the follow up posts suggests that is the case. And, even if it is a small claims action, small claims procedures vary widely from state to state.

If the defendant files an answer or anything else, you will receive that in the mail and have a chance to file something in return.

It is generally neither appropriate nor necessary for the plaintiff to respond to the defendant's answer. Whether the plaintiff may or should respond to "anything else" obviously depends on what the defendant has filed.

In terms of checklists etc though, your next step is just to wait for the hearing date in the mail from the court and go to the court hearing with whatever you have.

What about depositions and written discovery? What about motion hearings? What about subpoenaing witnesses? For all we know, all of these things may be absolutely critical for this poster's case.

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Both the complaint and request for discovery were made at the outset of the case.

I am waiting for a response. Should I file with the court that the defendant has been served? (What I meant to say is the individual whom served would file that information with the court. (it is on Texas)

I don't know what you mean by "request for discovery." I'm going to assume you didn't file in one of the Texas federal courts (which I suspected might be the case based on your screen name). However, it's not clear what level of Texas state court you filed in. If it's small claims, then a helpful link was posted above. If it's in "regular" court, then we can't begin to know what you might need to be doing next. I think someone above suggested a trip to a local law library and reviewing a civil procedure practice guide, and I would agree with that. And yes, you should file a proof of service or affidavit of service (not sure what it is called in TX) with the court to show that you served the defendant.

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Hah well yeah what I said is assuming your dealing with someone who isn't even going to respond. I assume that if no answer is filed, the court will then set a trial date at which point if the defendant was properly served you can maybe get a summary judgement? This is based on my limited experience so yeah. Thats one end of the spectrum... at the other end , they will file their answer.. at which point once you know what their response is you can then go through any number of other steps (depositions, discoveries, etc). I would assume they would have forms for all of those on the court website... but first step is to see how they respond (or if they respond)

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Worst comes to worst, my experience is that if you screw up severely in terms of court rules etc, the clerk will send it back to you and let you know what is wrong and refer you to their court rules for that court. For now I'd just make sure you know what the rules are serving the defendant and making sure you file the proof of service correctly. After that the ball is in his court (no pun intended)

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Hah well yeah what I said is assuming your dealing with someone who isn't even going to respond.

That seems like a foolish assumption. At the very least, if you're going to base your "advice" on such an assumption, you should state the assumption clearly.

I assume that if no answer is filed, the court will then set a trial date at which point if the defendant was properly served you can maybe get a summary judgement?

Summary judgment and trial are two very different things, neither of which will occur if the defendant defaults. If the defendant defaults, you seek a default judgment, which might be accomplished simply by submitting papers or it may be necessary to schedule a hearing. Impossible to know based on the limited information we have.

Thats one end of the spectrum... at the other end , they will file their answer.. at which point once you know what their response is you can then go through any number of other steps (depositions, discoveries, etc). I would assume they would have forms for all of those on the court website.

Another poor assumption. Not everything can be accomplished by using cookie-cutter forms.

Worst comes to worst, my experience is that if you screw up severely in terms of court rules etc, the clerk will send it back to you and let you know what is wrong and refer you to their court rules for that court.

The worst case scenario is that the case could get dismissed. Not likely, but certainly possible, and it's best not to assume you'll get several screw ups and that the court or the clerk will point out what you did wrong so that you can fix it.

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I don't know what you mean by "request for discovery." I'm going to assume you didn't file in one of the Texas federal courts If it's in "regular" court, then we can't begin to know what you might need to be doing next. I think someone above suggested a trip to a local law library and reviewing a civil procedure practice guide, and I would agree with that. And yes, you should file a proof of service or affidavit of service (not sure what it is called in TX) with the court to show that you served the defendant.

Ok got response back from defendants attorney, received a general denial and to proof or pay for expenses. what is the terminology called to respond to this request (I think its Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss?) and what is a common response.

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Ok got response back from defendants attorney, received a general denial and to proof or pay for expenses. what is the terminology called to respond to this request (I think its Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss?) and what is a common response.

What you need to do depends on what the defendant filed. If the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, then you’ll want to respond to that. How you respond to it depends on the reason the defendant stated for why he believes the court should dismiss the claim.

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Your dealing with an attorney and from my experience their entire approach is going to be based on "your not an attorney, there is no basis whatsoever for what your claiming, this is a complete waste of the court's time, you have no legal claim whatsoever, and so forth. Be careful because also in my experience, the judge often likes to go along with it. Very easy to get completely railroaded when your self representing and the other side is represented by an attorney, often an attorney who coudl very likely deal with that judge and/or work in that courtroom on a daily/weekly basis.

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Your dealing with an attorney and from my experience their entire approach is going to be based on "your not an attorney, there is no basis whatsoever for what your claiming, this is a complete waste of the court's time, you have no legal claim whatsoever, and so forth. Be careful because also in my experience, the judge often likes to go along with it. Very easy to get completely railroaded when your self representing and the other side is represented by an attorney, often an attorney who coudl very likely deal with that judge and/or work in that courtroom on a daily/weekly basis.

Well, I can see how a pro se litigant migh perceive it that way. But the reality is a bit different. It’s not a case of judges playing favorites with lawyers, as you imply. Rather, it’s reflection of the difference in the knowledge and skills of the attorney vs. the pro se litigant. The rules of pleading in most jurisdictions require that the plaintiff set out in the complaint all the facts that support his claim. The problem is that many pro se litigants are not well versed in the law and thus (1) don't know how to determine what claims they may have based on their facts and (2) don’t know all the elements of the claim they they think they have. As a result, their complaints often fail to set out sufficient facts to support any claim that the law recognizes. An attorney will spot that defect and file a motion to dismiss. The attorney must do that as an effective advocate for his client, so you'll see that any time the plaintiff’s complaint appears to come up short. The courts in which I practice will review a pro se litigant’s complaint liberally to see if the facts stated might indeed support some kind of claim even though not artfully drafted, but the judge cannot assume things that are not in the complaint. If the complaint is deficient, the court will dismiss it or, if the plaintiff is close and just needs a little work to fix it, the court might simply grant leave to the plaintiff to amend the complaint to try to get it right. The court cannot change the rules to help out the pro se plaintiff; the pro se plaintiff has to learn and understand the rules to be effective.

The fact is that the lawyer has the training and experience in litigation — he’s the pro. The pro se plaintiff doesn’t have that experience and training — he’s the amateur. So how do you think that’s going to go? Of course it will be hard for the pro se plaintiff. Just like it’d be hard for a high school batter to face a major league baseball pitcher. The umpire isn’t going to change rules and give the batter a smaller strike zone to make it easier because he’s an amateur. The high school pitcher would to have to deal with the pitches just like a pro would. The training and experience makes a difference, just like in everything else in life.

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Well, I can see how a pro se litigant migh perceive it that way. But the reality is a bit different. It’s not a case of judges playing favorites with lawyers, as you imply. Rather, it’s reflection of the difference in the knowledge and skills of the attorney vs. the pro se litigant. The rules of pleading in most jurisdictions require that the plaintiff set out in the complaint all the facts that support his claim. The problem is that many pro se litigants are not well versed in the law and thus (1) don't know how to determine what claims they may have based on their facts and (2) don’t know all the elements of the claim they they think they have. As a result, their complaints often fail to set out sufficient facts to support any claim that the law recognizes. An attorney will spot that defect and file a motion to dismiss. The attorney must do that as an effective advocate for his client, so you'll see that any time the plaintiff’s complaint appears to come up short. The courts in which I practice will review a pro se litigant’s complaint liberally to see if the facts stated might indeed support some kind of claim even though not artfully drafted, but the judge cannot assume things that are not in the complaint. If the complaint is deficient, the court will dismiss it or, if the plaintiff is close and just needs a little work to fix it, the court might simply grant leave to the plaintiff to amend the complaint to try to get it right. The court cannot change the rules to help out the pro se plaintiff; the pro se plaintiff has to learn and understand the rules to be effective.

The fact is that the lawyer has the training and experience in litigation — he’s the pro. The pro se plaintiff doesn’t have that experience and training — he’s the amateur. So how do you think that’s going to go? Of course it will be hard for the pro se plaintiff. Just like it’d be hard for a high school batter to face a major league baseball pitcher. The umpire isn’t going to change rules and give the batter a smaller strike zone to make it easier because he’s an amateur. The high school pitcher would to have to deal with the pitches just like a pro would. The training and experience makes a difference, just like in everything else in life.

What is the "typical curve ball court room tactic" shall I expect from both the opposing attorney/ and or the judge. and what is a defense strategy you have seen

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What is the "typical curve ball court room tactic" shall I expect from both the opposing attorney/ and or the judge. and what is a defense strategy you have seen

It’s not the judge you are fighting, it’s the opposing party and his lawyer. As to what you might expect, there is no way to answer that since I don’t know anything about the case, haven’t read your complaint, and haven’t read the response the defense made. You might start by telling us briefly what the facts are, what you are hoping to get from the lawsuit, and the state and type of court in which the case is being litigated. That may get you a lot more helpful comments and suggestions.

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Don't expect to get much talking during the hearing. Assume that the entire case will have been decided before hand when the judge reviews everything that has been submitted by the two parties.

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It’s not the judge you are fighting, it’s the opposing party and his lawyer. As to what you might expect, there is no way to answer that since I don’t know anything about the case, haven’t read your complaint, and haven’t read the response the defense made. You might start by telling us briefly what the facts are, what you are hoping to get from the lawsuit, and the state and type of court in which the case is being litigated. That may get you a lot more helpful comments and suggestions.

It is about a contract that was not honored and more money was paid to complete the services. It is a state district court. The initial complaint was filed with a request for admissions. But a general denial was filed.

Typically, what is next thing the opposing side will file? (or what is the usual thing that occurs after they file a general denial)

What should I be doing? (asking for jury trial?)

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First of all I would count on having no cooperation whatsoever from the judge. If there is anyway that the opposition can weasle out of it I'd pretty much depend on the judge looking the other way and allowing it. You ask how they do this and how they can get away with this? This is how it happens. The opposition will put together a long involved answer... it will be like 30-40 pages and have various facets of defense. However, key facts will be wrong and here and there will be falsities and also there will be legal statutes that are interpreted as fact (i.e. case law that is applied in such a way and presented in such a way to make it appear like that is actually the law...and the judge will conveniently go along with it) If all of these things are taken individually and separately, it would be easy to dispute them. However, what happens is the whole thing is put together so nicely and professionally, that when the hearing comes along, you can see that the judge has already decided in their favor. When you go to dispute or want to start pointing out the deficiencies you'll feel like your just a rambling idiot. They will just treat you as since your not an attorney, and the opposition is an attorney, that your not even worth listening to. You'll be trying to point out the lies in the opposition and they will just be telling you to hurry up so they can move onto the next case, because there is usually a courtroom of people waiting to have their cases heard (not sure if its like that in a State court). It would seem to me that a jury made up of non-attorneys and normal people would definitely not let them get away with something like that where as the judge will be sure to let them get away with it if there is nothing to stop him.

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I won't presume to know whether the judge is in anyone's pocket or whether indeed you will otherwise need to fight the judge; that's a whole 'nother bunch of kettles we simply can't afford to think about without stated reason.

Pretty much ANY lawyer will file a motion to dismiss; you could literally have an original, valid, original signed equivalent of "I did everything Joe said I did" and have that be true. :)

Hell's bells, we still don't even know what court system or what kind of case this is. To the original poster, this is simply not something someone will be able to walk you through over the internet even if you provided all the relevant info (and you have posed your questions as though timelines and procedures work the same everywhere). Either you do the research and spend time in a local library examining how this works, practice manuals, etc. (which is essentially what you ought to do before filing suit) or ... you're knowingly walking unarmed into a gun fight.

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I'd say if you can afford it and if this is something substantial I would definitely get a jury. Its not so much that the judge is in anyone's pocket its just that through the entire thing, in my experience, the entire underlying theme is not going to be so much about whos right or whats just but more about how you had the nerve to walk into their courtroom thinking that you could represent yourself and actually prevail. You can pretty much depend on that being a major factor and all the opposition has to do is whip up something feasible that the judge can go along with without too much scrutiny. A jury made up of other people not affiliated with the courtroom and its culture is much more likely to produce unbiased results... Just my opinion, take it for what its worth.

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