No matter how sophisticated a Client, there is always a sense of concern and fear upon learning that litigation has been filed against them. Knowledge of a lawsuit comes when a Summons and Complaint is served. Irrespective of size, odds are that every business will someday be sued. Remember, if you are sued do not panic and seek qualified legal assistance.
Litigation is the formal means by which parties seek the assistance of the court in order to resolve a dispute. Sometimes a contract will provide for arbitration which may be quicker and less expensive than court.
Litigation is commenced when one party files a legal action (the “complaint”) against another entity (whether an individual or a business entity). The party commencing the action is the Plaintiff and person being served is the Defendant. Generally the defendant has 30 days to “respond” to the litigation (the rules are different as it relates to a small claims court or an unlawful detainer action). There are several options available which a qualified attorney may use including challenging the complaint (demurrer), answering the complaint, and filing a Cross Action for damages that the person being sued may have suffered. It is important to remember, that you are required by law to file a response to the original complaint otherwise you may be waiving your rights. If the defendant fails to timely respond, the plaintiff may take a default against the defendant, which means a judgment would be entered and the case is lost before it even begins.
Remember to be patient, even though the legal problem may be paramount in your mind, the court system takes time and in all likelihood your legal matter will take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. There is a process known as “discovery” whereby oral testimony and written documentation are obtained to determine all of the facts before a court hearing. Usually once all the parties understand all the facts, the parties are able to work toward a settlement of their problems.
I urge anyone who is sued to seek advice from a business attorney who is well versed in litigation to protect their rights. An attorney should be willing to meet with you for an initial consultation at no charge and inform you what steps would be taken and outline the litigation process for you.
About the Author:
I’m Marc Tow; I have been a Real Estate and Bankruptcy attorney for 30 years. I have also been a Mortgage Broker for 20 years. I have been in business this long because I actually care about my clients. Feel free to contact me via my website: http://towlawbankruptcy.com. All consultations are free, thank you.