Wolfgang Riebe once said, “No one is perfect…that’s why pencils have erasers.”
In life, things get messy, and when it involves another person or business, an eraser might not be enough to fix what’s wrong. When there’s a disagreement, and you can’t come to a compromise or resolution, the next best thing to an eraser may be litigation. What is litigation, you might ask?
We live in a world where sometimes when you feel you’ve been wronged, but the other party doesn’t feel you’re right, and it’s up to a judge to make the final decision.
If the other party involved has put you in a situation when you think litigation could be the best remedy for you, let’s talk about what litigation is, what it entails, and give you a clear picture of the process to help you make an educated decision.
What Is Litigation?
Litigation is the practice of settling a disagreement in a court of law. It is the process in which you sue in court to enforce your rights. Unless you can settle the dispute before the trial, a judge or jury determines the outcome.
Taking Legal Action
When you’ve concluded that you must take legal action, the very first thing you want to do is research litigation lawyers. A trial lawyer specializes in litigation in practice.
Sometimes small businesses may try to file lawsuits without an attorney, which is called “pro se,” and means “by self.” You want to think this over carefully before you decide to go this route. If you are taking legal action without expert knowledge of the law, you risk losing your case on a technicality on top of many other issues.
If you are still considering “pro se,” we highly recommend that you at least do an internet search for “litigation lawyer near me” just to weigh your options. Depending on the severity of the case, you don’t want to make a snap decision.
Bringing Lawsuits to Court
Litigation begins with bringing your case to the civil court. The plaintiff is the one who files the complaint. Typically, you’ll file a summons, too.
The defendant receives the notification of your complaint with the summons. There is a deadline for a response and often a set date to begin the lawsuit.
This begins the discovery process. Both parties will gather details to help their case. They may decide to use depositions, or statements from witnesses, to help them explain their side of the story.
Both parties can now file what are called motions. Motions are requests that are made that can include asking for information and procedural requests. A plaintiff or defendant could request a change of venue, or they could request that the case goes in front of a jury or a judge.
An actual court date is now on the calendar, and this can take time, even months. In the meantime, you’ll make motions and gather information.
The Lawsuit Comes to Court
At last, the appointed court date arrives, and the case is heard. A judge or jury will listen to the case carefully, including both sides, and render a decision that is based on the facts of the case and based on the law.
Since it is the plaintiff who began the process, it is usually on the plaintiff to provide proof that the case is valid.
If the plaintiff or the defendant is not happy with the outcome and has a valid reason to question the verdict, then they could try filing an appeal. This time it would go to a higher court to review the facts of the case again and decide.
Which Court Hears the Case
Various courts can hear lawsuits, and it depends on two factors:
- The type of lawsuit
- The venue where the violation occurred
There are special courts for taking certain legal action depending on the complaint. For instance, you can consider small claims court or tax court types of special courts.
Some lawsuits must go to a certain jurisdiction to be heard based on where the violation occurred. Many times, it is the place where the defendant lives.
For instance, if you purchased a product from a company in California, and the shipment came to you broken, damaged, or incorrect upon arrival, you would need to sue in the state of California.
What Alternatives Do You Have?
Hayes Hunter PC suggests that if you are seeking business litigation, review your alternatives carefully with litigation lawyers first to see if there is a faster resolution to your legal dilemma.
Arbitration is the most common alternative that people use instead of litigation. It’s a way to resolve the complaint without having to go to court. Instead of a judge, an impartial arbitrator, or multiple arbitrators, will hear both sides and decide.
Sometimes, there is what is called mandatory arbitration. Companies can use this clause in contracts to avoid business litigation issues. Typically, litigation is the default option.
Which Is Better: Litigation or Arbitration?
Litigation and arbitration have similarities in their processes, but they are different in several ways. Litigation is taking legal action through a court system and involves a decision made by a judge or jury, which you can appeal if you dislike the outcome. Arbitration is a process that is private in front of an arbitrator who makes a decision that you cannot appeal.
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