District of Columbia Rules of Civil Procedure

In the District of Columbia, Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure lay down the rules that should be followed in all suits of a civil nature in the Civil Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  In the District of Columbia, a civil action commences with the filing of complaint with the Court.  A party who commences the action is called the plaintiff, and the opposite party is called the defendant.  Once a complaint is filed, the court clerk will issue the required summons to the defendant(s). A civil action can be classified into various stages that include: pleading stage, discovery stage, trial stage, and judgment stage. 

Different types of pleadings in  the District of Columbia courts are: Complaint, Answer to Complaint, Counter claim, Reply to counterclaim, Cross claim, Reply to cross claim, Third party complaint and Third party answer.  A complaint should be filed by the real party in interest.  If the real party in interest is a minor or incompetent person, the person’s representative should file the complaint.  If a minor or incompetent person does not have a representative, s/he may file the action through a next friend or a guardian ad litem.  The courts, if found necessary will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the minor or incompetent person.

Parties may obtain discovery by:

  • depositions upon oral examination or written questions;
  • written interrogatories;
  • requests for admission;
  • request for production of documents or things;
  • request for permission to enter into land or other property for inspection or other purpose; and/or
  • request for physical and mental examinations.

After the commencement of the action but not later than ten days after the service of the last pleading directed to such issue, a party may demand for trial by jury.  A judgment is passed after trial.  The judgment includes a decree or an order upon which an appeal is permissible.  Generally, cost of litigation is adjudged to the prevailing party.

District of Columbia Rules of Civil Procedure