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CHAPTER 8: OVERVIEW OF CIVIL CASES - Table of Contents

8.1 - Introduction8.2 - Where to find civil law8.3 - Starting a civil case: the complaint8.4 - Serving the complaint8.5 - Responding to the complaint8.6 - Requesting a jury8.7 - Alternate Dispute Resolution8.8 - Initial Procedural Requirements8.9 - Pretrial Discovery8.10 - Summary judgment motions8.11 - Trial8.12 - Damages, Costs and Attorneys Fees

8.8 INITIAL PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS

Once all of the necessary initial pleadings (complaint and answer, and any response to a counterclaim or cross-claim) have been filed, the case is deemed to be "at issue," meaning that further procedural developments can then proceed.

Upon the case becoming "at issue" the parties have to begin voluntarily providing information to each other. Under Rule 26(a)(1) of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, the parties have to (automatically and on their own initiative) identify to their opponents the name both persons and documents which they then know about who may have relevant information about the issues that their pleadings indicate are in dispute, and to provide a calculation of any damages being sought and information about any insurance policies that might apply to such damages.

The parties are also required by Rule 16 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure to put together a "Case Management Order" (or "CMO") that summarizes the disputed and undisputed issues in the case, provides limits and time frames for further discovery that will occur, and sets out when other procedural requirements will be met. The CMO will also address when a trial will be scheduled, if that has not already occurred. A trial is set when the parties' attorneys inform the clerk for the judge assigned to the case how many days they estimate a trial will require; the clerk then provides some possible trial dates available on the court's trial docket so that the attorneys can then select a date available for all of them. In most state courts in Colorado, the trial date will usually be around one year after the date the complaint is filed. The approximate status of any civil case can be assessed by reviewing the contents of the CMO in the court's file.

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