Litigation, Generally The Stages of Suit in CourtCompulsory Arbitration in Court | Arbitration Outside of Court | Injunctions |  Collection

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Remember that, each step of the way, you call the shots. You  can settle, terminate the case, or proceed based the informed recommendations you receive from us along the way.

THE BEGINNING – PLEADINGS

Litigation in state court starts with the filing of a writ or  complaint, unless the parties agree to proceed to arbitration or  mediation. In state court, a party may file one page “writ” to  merely informed the defendant of suit. This protects the  statute of limitations and the defendant can force the plaintiff  to file a more detailed set of allegations called a Complaint.

Filing the Complaint. This is the essence of the Plaintiff’s  claims. For small claims, very little detail will suffice. However,  for all other cases, detail is necessary.

Answering the Complaint. A default judgment can be  entered for failure to timely respond to the Complaint. The  defendant may, within 20 days of service of the complaint,  serve written objections to the complaint (to challenge  specificity) or venue, or personal jurisdiction (alleging the  Plaintiff filed in the wrong state), venue (wrong county), or  assert that the matter should be removed from the courts and  go to arbitration by virtue of an arbitration clause binding on  the parties. Objections involve attorney time and fees;  however, some objections are crucial (and bring the possibility  of an easy end to the case) yet those can be waived if not  raised. We will discuss costs at every stage. We advise  Defendants from our past experience whether any given  objection is reasonable or necessary to achieve your goal.

Filing an Answer. If the case survives preliminary  objections (state court) or a motion to dismiss (federal), or if no  objections are filed, then the defendant must timely file an  answer that admits or denies each allegation in the complaint  and also gives the defendant’s side of the story.

Filing a Counterclaim or Cross-Claim. With the filing if its  answer, the Defendant may also file a counterclaim against the  plaintiff. Here, the Defendant can assert his or her own claim  for money from the Plaintiff. The defendant can also file a third  party claim to pull another party into the litigation for various  reasons. Again, at every stage, we give a cost-benefit analysis.  Our ultimate goal is for you to come out ahead from litigation.

NEXT STAGE – DISCOVERY

The parties may serve written requests for information or  documents on: other parties to the case or third parties.  Likewise, through discovery, you may inspect property, take  pictures, obtain copies of hard drive, and countless other types  of requests. Experienced counsel will recommend discovery  tools narrowly tailored to yield maximum results to prove  your case or defense. The parties may also compel witnesses  to testify via deposition before court.

TRIAL

Before trial, in state court the court administrator will schedule  a pretrial conference or conciliation. This gives the parties a  chance to settle the case through the judge’s help. In federal  court, this occurs very early in the case in the form of court  ordered mediation.

If the case does not settle, then it will proceed to trial. Real  parties in interest must attend. Our firm has handled  numerous jury trials and we take the time to make our clients  comfortable and ready for court. We discuss everything from  how dress, where you sit, what documents to review, and how  to address the judge and jury. If we go to trial, you will be  prepared and ready to prevail.

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