What Happens During Civil Litigation
Civil litigation is the more polite and legalistic term for pursuing a lawsuit. It is a defined process, and you'll need to follow the steps in the right order. Let's take a look at what's likely to happen during a civil case.
Notification of All Involved Parties
Anyone who is the subject of the suit must be given formal notification that legal action is now pending. When a civil litigation lawyer sends this notice, they will also include a notification that certain materials have to be preserved. For example, someone involved in a suit against a city's water authority might demand the preservation of water quality data.
The court will order a series of hearings to iron out the pre-trial details. It's common for defendants at this time to pursue various motions, such as asking the judge to dismiss the case entirely. When a plaintiff feels they have an especially strong case, they may seek summary judgment on the grounds that the matter is simple and should be resolved right away by the judge. All parties will file briefs to address these motions.
Discovery and Depositions
Presuming the motions don't change the direction of the case, the judge will order discovery. Each side will then send paperwork regarding any items they'd like to see that they believe someone has. For example, a plaintiff might demand discovery of shipping documents and internal memos from a defendant in a case involving a bungled business transaction.
Depositions may also be conducted during this time. Individuals of interest will be interviewed under oath. Usually, one side asks all the questions. If counsel for someone else has an objection, they will register it before allowing questioning to proceed regardless of the objection.
A court recorder will be present to take down all of the testimony, but it's extremely rare for a judge to be present. If there is a dire issue of law that has to be addressed, a phone call can be placed to the judge. However, the goal is to avoid using the judge as little as possible.
It's normal for these processes to shake things out enough that a settlement is reached or the plaintiff drops the case. Supposing that doesn't happen, the judge will order a trial. A jury will be selected and impaneled unless a bench trial is requested. The sides will present their arguments, and a ruling will be made.
For more information, reach out to a company like Hart Law Offices, PC.