State Court Practice and Procedure

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State Court Practice and Procedure (California)
After the defendant files an answer, the plaintiff may or may not be required to file a "replay" (replication), depending on the rules of court for that particular court
The defendant answers the complaint, defending himself against the allegations contained in the complaint by filing a written "answer" in which he admits or denies the facts stated by the plaintiff in the complaint, and may present further facts which constitute new information in the form of "affirmative defenses" or "counterclaims."
A "summons" or an equivalent notice issued by the clerk of the court, indicates that a legal action has been started. The defendant is served by the court with a copy of the complaint.
Plaintiff makes a written statement (complaint) presenting the facts which are the basis for his suit.
A lawsuit (action) is commenced when the first pleading is filed with the clerk of the court by the person bringing the action (plaintiff)
When the case is tried, it is submitted to a court and jury or to a court without a jury for a final decision. In a jury trial, the judge decides questions of law, and the jury decides questions of fact. In a nonjury trial, the judge decides questions of both law and fact.
When all pleadings have been filed, all pretrial motion disposed of by order of court or withdrawal of the motion and all pretrial discovery completed,the case is ready for trial. The lawsuit is then considered "at issue"
Most state and federal courts allow all parties to seek relevant evidence for use in the trial of the case under their rules of "discovery." These procedures are governed by the rules of the court where the case is filed. They include "depositions," "interrogatories," and "requests to produce," among others. Any or all of these formal methods of discovery may be used before the trial, in addition to any informal investigation of the facts.
Instead of filing an answer to a complaint, a defendant may file and argue written motions or demurrers objecting to the complaint on legal grounds. For the purpose of such a motion, the facts alleged in the complaint are considered to be true but not admitted by the defendant. If such a preliminary motion of the defendant is denied by the court, the defendant must file an answer, and the case proceeds.

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