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General Litigation

General Litigation

What are pleadings?

Pleadings are legal documents that are filed with the Court. Pleadings may contain the parties’ allegations, defenses and the facts on which the claims are based. Pleadings are used to help narrow and define the issues to be litigated.

What is discovery?

Discovery is the legal process in which the parties involved exchange factual and evidential information related to the case. This discovery process allows both parties the ability to obtain disclosure of information and facts, secure evidence for use at trial, and clarify the issues to be litigated.

What is a deposition?

At a deposition, witnesses are questioned under oath about their knowledge of relevant facts of the case and information about themselves. Just as in discovery process, depositions allow the parties to secure facts and information for use at trial. Because depositions occur earlier in the course of litigation, recollections of the witnesses about the events may be clearer. In addition, if a witness passes away, or is otherwise unavailable for trial, the testimony can be used at trial. A court reporter is present and records all testimony.

What should I do if I receive notification that someone is suing me?

We recommend that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your situation. When a lawsuit is filed in the court, certain deadlines and specific procedures must be followed. An experienced litigation attorney can explain the process, advise you of the next step in the process, and draft the proper documents to ensure protection of your rights.

Can I file a lawsuit at any time?

Many claims carry a statute of limitation which set out specific timeframes in which a lawsuit can be filed. In most cases, if that time expires, the lawsuit cannot be filed. These time limits can vary depending on the type of case and the jurisdiction (state versus federal law). It is critical to consult with an attorney as quickly as possible if you believe that you have a claim to file.

What is the difference between litigation, mediation and arbitration?

Litigation involves the filing of a lawsuit and typically results in a trial if the matter is not settled. Arbitration and mediation are both alternatives to litigation. Mediation is a cooperative process and uses a neutral third party, such as a mediator, to facilitate a mutually satisfactory resolution. Arbitration also employs a neutral third party (an arbitrator), who will listen to both sides and make a decision. Typically, mediation is a non-binding procedure and arbitration is a binding procedure. There are various costs associated with hiring an arbitrator or mediator. It is important to assess the costs before agreeing to mediation or arbitration.

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Douglas W. Davis
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Douglas H. Cook
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