Litigation

November 29, 2011 | posted in: General, Law Insights | by

Litigation is an action brought in court to enforce a particular right. Litigation involves a series of steps that may eventually lead into a court trial and finally a solution to the matter that began the law suit in the first place.

The plaintiff (person contemplating the lawsuit) demands that the defendant (person accused of causing the injury) perform certain actions that will resolve the conflict. If this demand is not met or generally ignored, the plaintiff can then initiate the lawsuit by serving the defendant with copies of the complaint and summons and filing the complaint with a civil trial court. The complaint should contain the alleged injuries in connection with the defendant and request for equitable relief or damages in the form of money.

If this does not lead to the resolution of the matter, the plaintiff begins the discovery process. This involves sending written questions to the defendant seeking information involving the dispute at hand.

The time it takes to complete this stage is dependent on how difficult the conflict is to resolve and the cooperation of the two parties.

A settlement conference is held after the discovery is completed but if a settlement is not reached between the two, the litigation proceeds to a trial. Sometimes, the two parties reach an agreement after the settlement conference but before the trial date and the litigation ends. However, these settlements are often over priced.

The plaintiff and the defendant are allowed to bring forth relevant evidence in a trial to prove their positions to a jury or a court.

In the event that the plaintiff presents convincing evidence, the defendant can seek to close the case but if the plaintiff’s case is weak, the defendant can seek to have the case dismisses or thrown out.

It is at this point in litigation that both the defendant and plaintiff require most the services and expertise of a lawyer.

If either party is not satisfied with the ruling made by the trial court, they are free to appeal the decision after a certain period.

Federal courts have intermediate courts of appeal that hear most civil appeals while the appellate courts review the arguments of the parties on appeal. The appellate court then determines if the trial proceedings were conducted correctly.

After this decision is made, the losing party may appeal to the supreme court whose decision on the matter will be final marking the end of litigation.

The court then authorizes the prevailing party to collect damages from the losing party. The prevailing party should give the losing party a satisfaction of judgment that is filled with the trial court and marks the end of the case.

The more parties involved in a litigation, the more complicated it becomes and the longer it might take to settle the dispute. However, courts have the power to separate claims and actions if in doing so it increases efficiency and reduces the chances of overlapping factual issues with mere claims.

Once the matter is resolved and the case closed, the plaintiff is barred from re-opening or e-litigating the same claims against the defendant. This rule applies even for similar claims made under different legal claims or theories different from the original theories.

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