What There Is to Know About Civil Litigation

Below we’re covering everything that you need to know about civil litigation.

Each stage presents a different challenge and technicals issues.

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Civil litigation attorney

A civil litigation attorney is quite a versatile term that describes a type of lawyer who specialises in matters that aren’t essentially related to the criminal justice system.

Civil litigation lawyers’ roles don’t cover the defence of a person who had been charged with driving under the influence or had been arrested for theft.
They rather deal with matters that outline medical malpractice, personal injury, employment discrimination and civil rights. It is possible they may handle business cases, such as contract disputes, real estate matters, or in disputes that may involve partners in a corporation.

Those attorneys that specialise in civil litigation will need to prepare for every aspect of a trial in the civil court system.
Their role may involve interviewing clients and predicting the scope of the case and lawsuit purpose. The role would also include the preparation of petitions, or formal paperwork commencing a lawsuit.
Once the lawsuit has been prepared, civil litigation attorneys would then have the responsibility of discovery of information, or gathering information which involves compiling documents, taking the testimony outside of court and requesting information from the other party, or their attorney.

Civil litigation attorneys will also represent their clients along with the party they are suing.
Throughout the trial, the attorney will represent the client and may potentially work on their behalf to negotiate a settlement between parties.

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Civil Litigation: What is it?

What is civil litigation?
Civil litigation is the term used for a legal dispute that has occurred involving two or more parties seeking money damages or a specific performance, in comparison to criminal sanctions.
Litigators are what are known as the lawyers that specialise in civil litigation, and lawyers who practice civil litigation will represent the parties in hearings, trials, arbitrations and mediations before foreign tribunals, administrative agencies, federal, state and local courts.

The types of civil litigation

An extensive amount of conflicts can be encompassed into civil litigation.
Litigators will usually specialise in a couple of the specific areas.

Several of the common types of litigation include:

– Anti-Trust
– Construction
– Education Law
– Employment & Labor
– Environmental Law
– Intellectual Property
– Landlord/Tenant
– Medical Malpractice
– Personal Injury
– Products Liability
– Real Estate
– Worker’s Compensation

Civil litigation skills

To be able to proceed with litigation practice, there are a certain set of specific legal skills a person must acquire, including:

– Ability to synthesise complex legal and factual materials
– Analytical reasoning abilities as well as logical
– Client development skills
– Knowledge of legal research techniques and software
– Knowledge of substantive and procedural law
– Negotiation skills
– Strong advocacy skills, both written and oral
– Superior social skills

The role played

Being a litigator is a challenging role, as one must be prepared to assume an oppositional position and embody conflict and controversy.

The process

There are seven stages of the litigation process: investigation, pleadings, discovery, pre-trial, trial, settlement and appeal.
However, not every lawsuit will pass through each of the stages of the litigation; in many cases, lawsuits have been settled prior to the upcoming trial and those that do reach the verdict of the trial are not appealed afterwards.

Complex civil litigation will take years to pass from pre-suit investigation through trial/settlement.
The stage of discovery is the longest stage of civil litigation, not a lot of time is spent in trial, most is actually devoted to the discovery stage in the litigation process.

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What is litigation and how is it used in court?

What exactly does litigation mean?

Litigation, in its simplest form, is the process of bringing in a court to enforce a particular right. It’s the act of bringing in a lawsuit to resolve any disputes that may arrive before a court.

When a member of the public begins a civil lawsuit, this person is entered into the process called litigation. Due to the rules of Civil Procedure, something which governs actions that are used in State and Federal courts, litigation is a process of steps (this can lead to a court trial and eventually a resolution of the matter at hand).

Before reaching a point of a lawsuit, the plaintiff (which is the person who starts the lawsuit) will demand a set of actions from the person they believe to have caused alleged injury or damage (the defendant). Given the demand is refused or ignored by the defendant; the plaintiff can proceed with the lawsuit by delivering a summons and complaint on the defendant, whilst filing this complaint with a civil trial court. The body of the complaint must summaries the state of the alleged injuries, linking them to the defendant, whilst ultimately requesting relief through money or other services.

Litigation will affect us all at some point
Litigation will affect us all at some point

Given that the complaint does not resolve any of the issues raised in the settlement, the plaintiff will then begin a process called discovery. This is where the plaintiff will send interrogatories (written questions) to the defendant that seeks information regarding the dispute. The plaintiff has the right to request a copy of the completed documents for later review. Once litigation begins, the defendant is also given the right to learn more regarding the plaintiff’s case. They are permitted to begin a discovery process of their own and this is something that may be conducted in a matter of weeks, sometimes years, depending on how complex the case is and what level of cooperation exists between the parties involved.

After the discovery process is completed by the parties, most courts will require both the plaintiff and the defendant to attend a conference in which they hope to reach a settlement before pushing the case onto a trial. Depending on the outcome, an agreement will be reached or given that the parties can’t reach a settlement, the litigation will then continue onto a trial. Close to the day of the trial, any side of the involved parties may often make a settlement offer in order to avoid court proceedings, something which can be costly, dragging out the process for a number of months. Given a settlement is reached, litigation is ended.

Given that the parties are still unable to settle their differences, a trial will be held. At the resulting trial both sides are given permission to bring forward evidence that they feel relevant, allowing them to try and prove to the courtroom/jury the truth behind any complaints made. If the plaintiff brings forward a convincing case, the defendant can look to end the case immediately. Alternatively, if the case of the plaintiff is weak, the defendant may ask the courtroom to dismiss the specific case. Given neither is put forward, the trial will proceed to a conclusion and either the judge or the jury will must decide which party prevails over the other.

Given that the defendant loses the lawsuit, the party can now ask the courtroom to throw out the verdict if they feel that the evidence did not warrant the decision, or the defendant can alternatively ask that any damages awarded to the plaintiff be lowered. The court has the right to grant or refuse these kinds of requests made by the defendant.

Once a final decision is made, litigation will end. The winning party is given the right to collect any outstanding damages from the losing party. After the losing party gives the agreed relief, the party is then entitled to receive a satisfaction of judgement from the prevailing party. This is filed with the trial court and attest to the happiness of the winning party, signifying the end of the case.

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