In Indiana, the rules for trial procedure laydown the rules to be followed by all state courts in Indiana. The rules govern civil actions. The rules are promulgated for the smooth and efficient functioning of state courts.
In Indiana, a civil action is commenced by filing with the court a complaint or such equivalent pleading or document as may be specified by statute, by payment of the prescribed filing fee or filing an order waiving the filing fee, and, where service of process is required, by furnishing to the clerk as many copies of the complaint and summons as are necessary. A party who commences the action is called the plaintiff, and the opposite party is called the defendant. Once a complaint is filed, the clerk serves summons to the party or his/her representative. 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 Indiana courts include: 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 an infant or incompetent person (unborn, unknown, and unlocated persons), such person may sue or be sued in any action in his/her own name, or in his/her own name by a guardian ad litem or a next friend; or in the name of his/her representative.
Discovery is obtained by parties through:
- oral examination or written questions;
- written interrogatories;
- requests for admission;
- request for production of documents or other information;
- request for permission to enter into land or other property for inspection or other purpose; and/or
- physical and mental examinations.
After commencement of the action, a party may demand for trial by jury. A judgment is passed after trial. The judgment may include a decree or an order upon which an appeal is permissible. Generally, cost is adjudged to the prevailing party.