On Your Side in Law, By Your Side in Court
Litigation, also known as civil litigation, is a broad term which refers to prosecuting and defending a civil lawsuit. The party that files the lawsuit is called the Plaintiff, and the party forced to defend themselves is called the Defendant. In litigation, the Plaintiff seeks what is generally known as “relief” or to be “made whole,” which can mean monetary judgment, forced sale or the return of a property, specific performance, and so on.
Litigation can span a wide range of situations. Lawsuits for breach of contract, personal injury, nuisance, defamation, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a variety of other matters – all fit under litigation. Litigation between or involving businesses is often referred to as commercial litigation. Litigation between private parties in non-business situations is often referred to as personal litigation. This includes but is not limited to the following:
- Automobile accidents
- Personal injury
- Breach of contract
- Clouds on title
- Deceptive trade practice
- Breach of fiduciary duties
- Insurance actions
- Invasion of privacy
- Medical malpractice claims
- Warranty breaches
Litigation occurs in “stages.” After the lawsuit is initiated by Plaintiff, the Defendant has time to respond. Once the Defendant does, the case enters into the Discovery phase, where parties exchange evidence which they plan to use at trial. This is called “propounding discovery.” Around the same time, pretrial motions may be filed, such as Motion for Summary Judgment, for example. Temporary orders may also be requested, which may enjoin a party from doing something while the case is pending.
If the case is not settled before the trial date, the parties have a trial. If a jury is used, then Voir Dire occurs, which is a preliminary examination of possible jury candidates to weed out anyone which cannot be neutral in making the decision for the case. Then, the actual trial occurs, which includes opening statements, direct examination, cross examination, and closing arguments. Finally, the Judge or Jury deliver their decision, which can also include punitive damages and attorney fees, based on nuanced statutory law and if the Judge or Jury deems it fit to award this.
Litigation requires highly specified and honed knowledge of civil procedure, evidence rules, local rules, and motion practice. Our office vigorously represents clients in civil litigation and has a track record of success. Litigation can be a life changing event because important issues are at stake. Contact us for strong representation in and outside the courtroom.