Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure lay down the rules that should be followed by Missouri state courts. The rules govern civil actions. These rules are promulgated to secure just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every civil action. In Missouri a civil action commences by filing a petition with the court. Party who commences the civil action is called the plaintiff, and the opposite party is called the defendant. A civil action can be classified into various stages that include: pleading stage, discovery stage, trial stage, and judgment stage. Once a complaint is filed, the court clerk will issue the required summons to the defendant(s).
Permitted pleadings in Missouri courts are: petition, answer to petition, counter claim, reply to counter claim, cross claim, reply to cross claim, third party petition and answer to third party petition. A complaint should be filed by the real party in interest. A minor or an incapacitated person may be represented by a guardian. The guardian can sue or defend on behalf of the minor or incapacitated person. If a minor or an incapacitated person does not have any authorized representative, s/he may sue by his/her next friend or by a guardian ad litem. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor or an incapacitated person for their protection.
Parties may obtain discovery by depositions upon oral examination or written questions; written interrogatories; production of documents or things or permission to enter upon land or other property, for inspection and other purposes; physical and mental examinations; and requests for admission.
At the trial stage, 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 of litigation is adjudged to the prevailing party.