How to file a lawsuit Pro se?

Mar

6

2011

How to file a suit Pro se? How to file a lawsuit without lawyer? Pro se filings can be easy by following these simple steps on how to file a lawsuit Pro se?

You believe that you have been injured or wronged by someone, some individual, corporation or government agency. You also believe you should be compensated for the harm you have suffered. In order to accomplish this, you have decided to file a civil suit in the United States District Court, without the help of an attorney. Here is how to do it.

 

Before we go ahead, there are a few simple terms you must get to know and understand.

Plaintiff” is the person or party who files the lawsuit.

Defendant” is the person or party who is being sued.

Pro Se” is a Latin term meaning “for yourself.” If you are representing yourself without the benefit of a lawyer or an attorney, you are known as a “Pro se litigant”.

Lawsuit” is a legal action in which the Plaintiff sues the Defendant. In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that the defendant/s failed to carry out some type of legal duty like, the duty to comply with a contract or the duty not to violate constitutional rights.

 

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In: How to File Asked By: [6135 Red Star Level]
Answer #1

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Following are some basic steps on how to file a lawsuit Pro se:

1. Select the applicable court or jurisdiction. The state courts typically hear matters relating to civil, criminal, domestic divorce and child custody, probate, and property in accordance with the laws of each state. Matters typically heard by the federal courts involve violation of federal laws; admiralty and maritime matters; United States patent, trademark, and copyright matters; bankruptcy proceedings; proceedings against ambassadors, consuls, and ministers. Most small claims courts or circuit courts are for disputes with a low monetary amount usually less than $5,000.

2. Write your Complaint. The first document that you must write/file is called a Complaint. The Complaint sets out the parties, the controversy and the governing law, allegations, statements of facts, and demand for relief. In simple terms, the main function of the Complaint is to tell the Court and defendant the reason for filing the lawsuit and what relief you desire.

3. Fill up the Civil Cover Sheet. Civil Cover Sheet is ready to use form, available at the court or on court’s official website. This document that must accompany the complaint before filing can occur.

4. Issue Summons. A Summons is a writ used to notify the defendant of the commencement of the civil action and the requirement to appear and answer. Summons is issued by the Clerk at the time of filing the complaint, the summons is served on the defendant with a copy of the complaint. If you are making service by Summons, you will need a completed Summons addressing each defendant individually.

5. File your Complaint, Civil Cover Sheet and Summons. Your next step is to file all these completed forms and documents with the Court. Before filing verify the information and sign all documents you want to file with the court. Place the words “Pro se” after your name and preferably provide your telephone number on all documents. In the event it is necessary to obtain further information or clarification, or advise you of any changes in hearing schedules, court can reach you. Also make multiple copies of the Complaint and other documents for the court, defendants and don’t forget to keep a copy for yourself.

6. Filing fees. The person or party who files a lawsuit has to pay a filing fee along with the above documents. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee you can fill out an Application for Leave to proceed in Forma Pauperis and attach a Financial Affidavit so that the selected judge can make a determination of your inability to pay the filing fee. If your Application is not approved, you must pay the filing fee to have your case proceed.

7. After this initial filing, the case is assigned to a judge and a Case number is generated and dispensed for future reference. Your next step is to serve the Summons along with a copy of the Complaint on each of the defendants that he or she is being sued and wait for the Defendant/s to respond. You will be given around 30 days to serve the defendant and the defendant will be given around 21 days to respond, depending on the state/jurisdiction.

Done! Yes, you have just filed your first lawsuit or complaint as Pro se litigant.

Answers Answered By: ProSePro [6135 Red Star Level]
Answer #2

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Remember

• Pro Se Litigants should be familiar with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of the court. As a pro se litigant, you enjoy every right entitled to you under the law. You need not worry if you have had little or no experience with the courts before. However, pro se litigants are expected to follow/abide by the rules that govern the practice of law in the Federal Courts.

• Don’t panic if you make mistakes. The clerk will tell you how to correct any mistakes and help you when you ask for assistance. The clerk cannot provide legal advice but are very helpful and will usually lead you through the litigation process. You may also seek help from Neighborhood Legal Services or Legal Aid in your area.

Answers Answered By: ProSePro [6135 Red Star Level]

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