Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure lay down the court rules to be followed by state courts in Vermont. The rules govern civil actions. The rules are promulgated for the smooth and efficient functioning of state courts.
A civil action can be classified into various stages that include: pleading stage, discovery stage, trial stage, and judgment stage. In Vermont, generally, a civil action commences with the filing of a complaint. A party who commences the action is called the plaintiff, and the opposite party is called the defendant. According to Rule 4, once a complaint is filed, the plaintiff’s attorney should deliver the required summons to the defendant(s). The summons should be signed by the plaintiff’s attorney. If the plaintiff has no attorney, the summons should be signed by any Superior Judge or a judge or the clerk of the court to which it is returnable.
Different types of pleadings in Vermont courts include the: Complaint, Answer to Complaint, Counter claim, Reply to counterclaim, Cross claim, Reply to cross claim, Third party complaint and Third party answer. If the real party in interest is an infant 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. The courts, if found necessary will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the infant or incompetent person.
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 of litigation is adjudged to the prevailing party.