The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) guide civil actions in the U.S. District Courts. The FRCP provides a comprehensive framework for fair, efficient, and economical execution of civil proceedings. The Supreme Court implemented the original version in 1937, and the 12 titles have been revised and amended over the years.
Title 1 – FRCP Scope: Summarizes the overall mission of uniformity and equitable administration of federal civil actions.
Title 2 – Commencement of Suits: How suits are initiated via complaint and the processes of filing, summons, and service. It outlines the requirements for all parties to be formally served with notices of action.
Title 3 – Pleadings/Motions: The plaintiff’s original pleading is a complaint, which contains a statement citing jurisdiction, a claim and a request for judgment. The defendant’s initial response is an answer, and may employ affirmative defenses. The motions that may be entered as defenses during pretrial include:
- Lack of subject matter or personal jurisdiction;
- The venue is not proper;
- Process insufficiency or failure in process of service;
- Absence of a claim for which relief may be granted;
- Failing to join a party based on Rule 19.
This section clarifies when a defendant may make claims against others, when third parties may be introduced, and when pleadings may be revised or enhanced.
Title 4 – Parties: A plaintiff may have multiple claims against a defendant and addresses the court procedure in approving class action litigation.
Title 5 – Discovery: The rules provide options allowing for evidence disclosure between parties. Tools for attainment include requests for documents, depositions and others. A conference affirms the means of how discovery will occur, with timing and deadlines.
Title 6 – Trial: The rights to a trial by jury in place of a bench trial and how actions may be dismissed. The subpoena process is outlined, which demands witness testimony, and the rules regarding juries.
Title 7 – Judgment: Explains how a motion for summary judgment may be granted, such as if no genuine issue of fact exists, which suggests that there is no basis for proceeding further to trial.
Title 8 – Provisional/Final Remedies: A host of procedures that relate to the final resolution of the matter, such as confidential settlements, injunctions, restraining orders, bonds & security deposits.
Title 9 – Special Proceedings: Describes alternate forms of litigation and had previously defined the appeals process before adopting the Rules of Appellate Procedure.
Title 10 – District Courts/Clerks: Conducting Business & Orders: Defines the authority of the Clerk, record retention, and transcripts.
Title 11 – General Provisions: Covers many general topics including those involved with bankruptcy, citizenship, and arbitration.
Title 13 – Supplemental Rules, Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture: Defines the scope and application of admiralty and maritime claims.
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