Litigation, in all of its forms, can be a stressful experience for non-attorneys. By the time an individual or entity needs a litigator, they have been served with a legal process document. The most common question that attorneys face, when taking on a new litigation client, is how the process is going to play out. Fear of the unknown is a powerful motivator!
Without delving too far into the details of litigation, an overview of the beginning of the civil case process (prior to trial and not including the settlement process) can help to quell some client nerves and anxiety.
A civil matter always begins with a Complaint, filed by the Plaintiff(s). The Complaint should lay out the facts to support the Plaintiffs’ legal claims against the Defendant(s). The Complaint is formally served upon the Defendant(s) by a process server and requires a signature that attests to the Complaint’s receipt.
The Defendant(s) then have a certain amount of time in which to file their Answer with the Court or other tribunal. This is where most individuals or entities seek out the assistance of legal counsel. The Answer is the Defendant(s) first opportunity to defend themselves against the opposing party.
There are other steps which may occur in the initial pleading phase, but for purposes of this article, the next major step in the process is called Discovery. In civil litigation, Discovery accounts for the majority of time and effort spent by the parties – both sides can ask for and receive documents and other materials, can ask for and receive answers to certain questions, and can ask for and provide admissions or denials of certain facts.
Also, both Plaintiffs and Defendants may be subject to a deposition. Depositions provide an opportunity for a litigation team to ask face-to-face questions of an opposing party. These question and answer sessions are conducted under oath and are stenographically recorded, which records may be used at a civil trial in the future.
Litigation fatigue is a real thing. Usually about halfway into the discovery phase of a civil case, clients begin to experience such fatigue. Discovery can be a labor intensive practice for the client, as they are expected to cull through their physical possessions and their metal impressions and memory to be responsive to the other side’s inquiries. Most stressful is the deposition experience – being asked questions for any length of time is daunting, but especially by an attorney for the opposing side.
At any point along this litigation pathway, you need an experienced and competent litigation team fighting on your behalf. From filing an appropriate and sufficient Answer, to handling Discovery in a strategic and efficient manner, you need an experienced and competent team of attorneys working for you.
The lawyers at Desautel Law have the experience and confidence to fight for your interests during the course of civil litigation matters. The litigators at Desautel Law have handled hundreds of cases successfully.
To learn more about Desautel Law and how it can represent you in your litigation matter, call us at 401.477.0023 today.