of Civil Litigation Practice
Many clients ask us for an overview of what they should expect in civil litigation. If we are representing you in a civil claim for damages, breach of contract action, or other claim for relief this is what you can expect. Not every case is the same and our strategies do vary, however this guide often provides clients with some context.
A demand letter is the first step in obtaining the results you desire. A carefully drafted demand letter can sometimes achieve complete success in your case, requiring no further legal action. In a breach of contract case, demand letters generally contain information about your claim against the debtor, the amount of debt owed, a time limit for obtaining payment, and the legal consequences for non-payment. In a personal injury case, the demand letter will notify the defendant of your injuries, the amount in damages, and possibly even evidence entitling you to relief such as photos or videos.
Plaintiff Case Initiation (Filing the Complaint)
Drafting and filing a formal complaint initiates the judicial process and must be drafted in accordance with the applicable rules of court and civil procedure. It is essentially a document telling the court the facts of your case and applicable legal argument. It will also detail the damages you are requesting. Supporting documentation such as the disputed contract and/or photos will be attached to the complaint as exhibits.
Defendant Motion to Dismiss/Answer
If grounds exist for a motion to dismiss they must be raised in an initial pleading or they are waived. Various grounds such as failure to state a cause of action, failure to include indispensable parties, improper venue, etc. may exist and should be carefully evaluated by an experienced attorney prior to filing any initial pleadings in your case.
In the event that an Answer is required, in most cases you must file a pleading that admits, denies, or states that you are without knowledge to each claim against you or you are deemed to have admitted all of the pending allegations.
Discovery and Motions Practice
We learn about the case through the process of discovery, which entails the taking of depositions, drafting and requesting interrogatories, and requests for production of evidence. In addition, our motions practice will help to shape the case and the evidence that is being collected by both sides.
Throughout discovery both sides will be evaluating the strength of their case, the strength of their admissible evidence, and the likelihood of success at trial. Settlement negotiations will often occur during this time. Each settlement offer must be relayed to the client and it’s always the client’s choice whether or not they wish to accept a settlement.
We take pride in our trial practice and we are skilled in each phase of the trial process. From selecting a jury and giving opening statements to detailing the facts in closing argument, our trial team knows how to handle the unexpected.
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