1. commences with the filing and serving of a summons and complaint.
2. follows with an answer or a motion to dismiss (aka, a "demurrer" in some jurisdictions
3. If motion to dismiss is valid, then plaintiff is usually granted leave to amend the complaint, and step 2 is repeated until either the complaint is not susceptible to another motion to dismiss, or the court decides that the defects cannot be cured, whereupon the case is dismissed and terminated; otherwise defendant must answer the complaint
4. Once both complaint and answer are filed, the matter is "at issue." The court generally orders a case management conference at which the parties are required to determine how the discovery process will proceed (interrogatories, depositions, requests for production of documents, physical inspection/medical examination, etc.), and a trial date is set, usually between 6 months to one year after the initial date of service on defendant.
5. At any point during discovery, if either party believes that the other parties case is so weak that there are no material facts in dispute, then a party may move for summary judgment, which is a termination motion, whereby the moving party tries to show the weaknesses of the opponent in the hope that the court will grant judgment in the moving party's favor without trial. Summary judgment may be partial or full. If partial, then the case is tried on the issues which survive summary judgment.
6. Assuming a trial date is reached, the case is tried, either before a jury or the judge, witnesses are called, evidence is produced, and when the trial is over, the jury renders a verdict and the court enters findings and conclusions and judgment for the prevailing party.
7. If either party disagrees with the court's judgment, they can appeal to a higher appellate court.
That's the thumbnail of civil procedure. The next step is usually to serve interrogatories on the other party. This requires knowledge of your jurisdiction's discovery rules. Civil procedure is a complex subject. For a reputable professional treatise see:
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Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.