Why can't I just tell the judge what happened and get this lawsuit over with?

Believe me, our justice system is the best in the world.  However, justice in the United States does not move at light speed.  I have had many individuals not familiar with the process ask me the question listed above.

Understand that the process we have in litigation has evolved over many years.  Lawsuits in probate and guardianships (identified as adversarial proceedings), and civil (trust litigation et cetera) lawsuits are all governed by the Florida or Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  The process starts with a complaint or petition, an answer (if no motion to dismiss is filed) an affirmative defenses (or maybe also a counterclaim) and a reply (a pleading that identifies why affirmative defenses are legally insufficient).   This process can take months to complete because filing a motion to dismiss can take months to resolve.

Once the pleadings are closed (i.e., the process above is complete), a party can always seek to amend their pleadings, which can delay the process further.   However, if no one amends the pleadings, then the next step is to conduct discovery.  Discovery is generally conducted through examinations in guardianship incapacity proceedings, written questions, requests to produce documents and depositions.  This process itself can take months.  Once a party has conducted discovery, the next step is to notice the matter for trial in a civil proceedings or set the matter for an evidentiary hearing in a probate or guardianship proceeding.

Along the way, if a party wants the court to take some action, the party files a motion or petition.  Because our courts are very busy, it may take a month or two to set the matter for hearing.  When the matter eventually gets to trial, then the judge or jury hears all the evidence.  Because the typical civil judge (at least in Lee County state courts) has over 5,000 (note a typo) matters assigned to him or her at any given time, judges do not take the time to review a file before the matter is set for a hearing in front of the judge.  Each judge simply does not have the time.   For more information please contact  Florida Bar Board Certified wills, trusts and estates expert Matthew A Linde, P.A. today at 239.939.7100.
Matthew A. Linde
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