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Order of a Civil Trial

The first person to address the jury will be the judge. He will outline for the jury the rules of the court and the order in which the trial will proceed.

Plaintiff’s attorney has the burden of proof and therefore is permitted to make the first opening statement to the jury. It is during the opening statement that we first present to the jury what we intend to prove and how we will prove the case. This will be followed by the defense attorney’s opening statement. Once that is concluded, plaintiff’s counsel will begin to call witnesses on his direct case. After plaintiff’s counsel finished questioning a witness, the defense counsel then cross examines the witness. The second plaintiff’s witness is then called and the process continues until all plaintiff’s witnesses have testified under direct and cross examination. Normally, the plaintiff is the last witness that is called by his side. Plaintiff as a party is entitled to remain in the court room through out the trial. Plaintiff’s witnesses are not allowed into the court room until they have testified. It is always best, whenever possible, to utilize all of the non-party witnesses before calling the plaintiff to testify.

Once plaintiff’s case has been completed, then the defendant has an opportunity to put in a direct case of his own. If defendant puts in a direct case, the process then repeats itself. Defendant calls a witness and conducts a direct examination, and that witness is then cross examined by the plaintiff’s attorney. Once all of the defendant’s witnesses have testified on direct and under cross examination both sides rest.

Additional steps of filing a New York civil lawsuit.

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