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How Should You Prepare For Your Hearing?

Since you, as plaintiff, have the burden of proving your case before the Judge at trial, you should bring with you any important documents related to your case. These may include canceled checks, receipts, bills, correspondence, messages, contracts, leases, accident reports, and anything else that may be used as evidence to support your claim. You are also responsible for arranging to have witnesses appear to testify on your behalf. Some witnesses will agree to come to court voluntarily. You must inform them of the date, time and place of the trial and make sure they appear. If it is necessary for you to call a witness who does not wish to appear voluntarily, you may ask the Clerk to issue a "subpoena" or Court Order directing the person to appear. Otherwise, your witness' failure to appear will not ordinarily constitute good grounds for a postponement or continuance of your case. An additional court cost deposit is required for each witness you wish to have subpoenaed.

The plaintiff bears the burden of proving his/her case by a "preponderance of the evidence". This is a balancing test by which the Judge weighs the probabilities of accuracy of each party's respective claim. The plaintiff's evidence must be greater in order for him/her to win the case. Therefore, if your suit involves a complex piece of machinery, a defective car or appliance, you may wish to bring an expert witness to testify at your trial (ex. A mechanic or appliance repairman). You may also wish to consult an attorney regarding trial preparation even if you intend to handle your own case.

If a settlement is reached prior to trial, notify the Clerk's Office in writing IMMEDIATELY so the case may be dismissed and replaced on the docket. If time does not permit a letter, telephone the Clerk's Office.

If you find that you are unable to attend court at the date and time set, IMMEDIATELY notify the Court IN WRITING to seek a continuance. Continuance requests that do not reflect the consent of the opposing party are not automatically granted and must be supported by good cause.

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