Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to help you today!
This is a very broad issue, but I'll do my best to provide you with the information you need.
Once the plaintiff puts on his/her case, you would be able to do the same thing to put on your proof.
Your version of facts would come from anywitnesses - - including yourself - - with first-hand knowledge of the facts/events of the case. Of course, if you don't have an attorney, you would have to ask questions from the other witnesses to solicit their testimony as to what occurred.
Also, any exhibit/document you have that you want to introduce into evidence must be qualified by a witness - - meaning that a person must be able to identify the document and then tell the court what it says/means. Once the document is qualified, it can be admitted as an exhibit and made a part of the court record.
These are the two basic ways that evidence is presented to the court - - testimony and exhibits. Both must be solicited from the attorney/pro se party by asking questions of the witnesses and qualifying the documents to be introduced as evidence.
Basically, you want to tell your story through the testimony and evidence that you have. If you are knowledgeable to the facts and events, then you should be able to put together questions necessary to get this information to the court.
I hope this answers your question, but if you need anything further, please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks!
This is an unusual situation, but I actually tried a case against a pro se plaintiff a few months ago.
In that case, the plainitff took the stand and just told his story without being prompted with questions.
When it came time for an exhibit to be entered, the plaintiff would identify the document to the court, tell what the document was and then asked the court to admit the document into evidence.
Then, I would have an opportunity to object if I felt the document wasn't relevant, that the proper foundation had not be laid (proper identification and authentication of the document).
The best thing to do is sit down with the other side and go through all of the exhibits before trial. This will allow you to inform the judge that you've agreed to all exhibits and then all you would have to do is simply have it marked and then tell what each document you want to use says, where it came from, etc.
Thus, you would really handle your testimony no different than that of anyone else - - EXCEPT that you will not be prompted by questions.
No, you don't have to speak to the witnesses before trial, and you don't have to get their permission, BUT if you don't have their agreement to be there, you certainly need a subpoena issued to them to assure their attendance (this isn't a bad idea, anyway, but especially if you don't have an agreement with the witness).
You can have the court issue and serve witness subpoenas on all of the people you may call to testify.
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