- Explain how a lawsuit can be dismissed prior to any trial.
- Understand the basic principles and practices of discovery before a trial.
The early phases of a civil action are characterized by many different kinds of motions and a complex process of mutual fact-finding between the parties that is known as discovery. A lawsuit will start with the pleadings (complaint and answer in every case, and in some cases a counterclaim by the defendant against the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s reply to the defendant’s counterclaim). After the pleadings, the parties may make various motions, which are requests to the judge. Motions in the early stages of a lawsuit usually aim to dismiss the lawsuit, to have it moved to another venue, or to compel the other party to act in certain ways during the discovery process.