We are experienced in all facets of civil litigation and mediation. Our civil litigation attorneys create a unique synergy that enables us to provide skilled and experienced representation in virtually any civil dispute. By its very nature, litigation can be both time consuming and expensive. We understand that minimizing expense is important, and we will pursue your goals as efficiently as possible. We will identify the root issues involved in the matter and implement effective pre-litigation strategies to successfully resolve the matter before trial.
The hallmark of our civil litigation practice is thorough analysis and case preparation. Our accomplished civil litigation attorneys develop strategies to account for any outcome. When litigation is the best way to achieve your desired goals, the civil litigation attorneys at Arkoosh Law Offices are fully prepared to go to trial with the best possible representation.
What Happens in Litigation?
(1) The Complaint. A lawsuit begins with the filing of a Complaint by the plaintiff with the court, and formally delivers a copy of the Complaint to the defendant. The Complaint will explain the jurisdiction (what court has the power to hear the case), venue (where the lawsuit may be filed), claims (for example, breach of contract), and damages (how much money the plaintiff seeks from the defendant) in the case.
(2) The Answer. The defendant is given a specific amount of time to file an Answer to the Complaint which is set by the applicable court rules. In Idaho, this time period is typically twenty (20) days from the date the defendant was formally served with a copy of the Complaint and Summons. The defendant’s Answer will admit or deny each of plaintiff’s allegations and will list defendant’s defenses. The defendant may also file a Counterclaim against the plaintiff, alleging that the plaintiff has harmed the defendant and should be held liable for that harm. In some instances, in lieu of an Answer or Counterclaim, a defendant may respond by filing a motion, which requests the plaintiff to clarify or correct deficiencies in the factual allegations or legal theories alleged, or may seek immediate dismissal of all or part of the Complaint. The judge will grant or deny the motion, and the case will either be dismissed or continue and the defendant will file an Answer to the Complaint. Once the parties have completed the Complaint, Answer, and any issued raised by motion, the issues for resolution by the court have been defined and the court will issue a scheduling order.
The judge will issue a scheduling order for each case, setting important deadlines for when the parties may exchange information, file motions, or go to trial.
Discovery is the time period where the parties request and obtain information from each other. It begins soon after the lawsuit is filed and often does not stop until shortly before trial. The court rules set specific requirements for how the parties may seek and produce this information. Information is gathered through written questions, requests for documents, and requests for admission. If a plaintiff or defendant fails to respond to another party’s request as required, that party may file a motion to compel responses and set a hearing before the judge. Another method for obtaining information is to conduct depositions. In a deposition, attorneys ask a witness questions and everything said is typed word-for-word by a court reporter. The attorneys then are able to use the witness testimony to prepare their side of the dispute.
Before trial, a party may ask the judge for specific relief. Motions may be filed for a variety of reasons such as: clarification or resolution of procedural disputes; to compel production of documents or to exclude evidence; or to dismiss all or part of the plaintiff or defendant’s cases. Motions are usually supported by a written brief that explains the legal argument supporting the motion. If one party files a motion, the other party will usually have the chance to file a written response. The judge may schedule oral argument on the motion, where the attorneys have to appear in court and verbally explain their position. The judge will make a decision at the hearing or in writing. The decision may or may not be immediately appealable, depending on the issue before the court.
If the case does not settle and is not resolved by a motion, the case will go to trial. In a jury trial, the jury determines the result; in a bench trial, the judge determines the result. In all trials, the judge will make legal rulings on attorney objections and motions to exclude evidence or witness testimony. In a trial, the attorneys present arguments, question witnesses, and submit evidence in support of their side of the dispute. Once all of the evidence has been presented, the attorneys will provide a closing argument and the judge will instruct the jury on the law that they will have to apply to the facts presented. The jury will then make a decision. Alternatively, in a bench trial, the judge weighs the evidence against the facts and makes the decision
Costs and Fees
Lawsuit costs and fees may include hiring expert witnesses; the costs of a study, report, analysis, or other project ordered by the court; court fees; copy fees; deposition fees; computer legal research services; attorneys’ fees; secretarial and paralegal fees; external, consultant, and specialist fees; private investigation fees; costs in obtaining records, and so on. The list is potentially endless.
Lawsuit costs and fees can be awarded in two cases: when parties agree to it by contract, and when a statute specifically allows a judge to do so. Recoverable costs generally do not include attorneys’ fees, or cover all out-of-pocket expenses that may be incurred in prosecuting or defending a lawsuit. However, some statutes and contracts do provide for the prevailing party to be awarded its attorneys’ fees from the losing party.
One party may ask that a trial court’s decision be reviewed for legal error by a higher court. Depending on the type of appeal or whether the appeal is sought before or after the trial, the attorney may have to first seek permission from the court to see if the appeal will be allowed. Sometimes a case will need to be put on hold while a particular issue is on appeal. The parties present their arguments in briefs, explaining why a trial court’s decision should be affirmed or reversed. The appeals court will affirm the trial court decision if it is found that there was no error. Where error is found, the trial court decision may be reversed. Depending on the complexity of an appeal, the lawsuit may be extended by up to a year or more.
These are few reasons to hire a professional litigation lawyer at Arkoosh Law Offices.