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Litigation

If you are involved in a dispute with another person, which you have not been able to resolve on your own, look to the litigation services of Crabtree Law Firm, P.A. to help you reach a successful resolution as quickly as possible. Crabtree Law Firm, P.A. can assist you in attempt to resolve your dispute in many alternative ways.

Negotiation

– involves the voluntary exchange of positions between opposing parties, without a neutral third party facilitating the process, in an attempt to reach a mutual agreement.

Mediation

– employs the services of a mediator, who is a neutral third party that works with the parties in a dispute to assist them in reaching a settlement agreement. A mediator normally has no authority to render a decision toward a settlement.

Arbitration

– is an informal legal proceeding whereby opposing parties to a dispute agree that an impartial third person or panel of persons may make a decision on their dispute. During an arbitration, both sides will offer their testimony and evidence to the arbitrator. After hearing both sides, the arbitrator will issue an award to be given to one of the parties. An arbitration can either be binding or non-binding. Non-binding arbitration is often used as a settlement tool. In a non-binding arbitration, either side can reject the arbitrator’s award. In a binding arbitration the arbitrator’s award is final. Although parties may be able to appeal an arbitration award to a court, they often face a stringent standard of review making it difficult to overturn such award.

Litigation is the complex and lengthy process of resolving a dispute through a law suit in the court system. The following describes the general process of beginning a lawsuit:

I. Filing of a Summons and Complaint.

The Summons is a document that accompanies the Complaint and notifies the Defendant that they must respond to the Complaint within twenty (20) days or have their rights jeopardized. The Complaint is a paper filed by the Plaintiff to commence a lawsuit that describes the court’s jurisdiction, a short, plain statement of the claim, and a demand for relief.

II. Receipt of Answer to the Complaint.

The Answer is a paper filed by the Defendant, which endeavors to resist the Plaintiff’s Complaint by either denying allegations in the Plaintiff’s Complaint or confessing them and alleging new defenses to the Complaint.

III. Discovery Phase.

The discovery phase usually begins with a request by the opposing attorney to produce any documents relating to the claim and to answer a series of Interrogatories. Often, when the injured party’s attorney receives the Interrogatories they will send a copy to their client asking them to complete the questions in as great of detail as possible. Many clients are frustrated by the detailed questions, but they must realize this is standard operating procedure. No one knows their case as well as they do. Once the client has completed the Interrogatories and returned them to his or her attorney, the attorney edits them into legal format, and returns them to the insurance company’s attorney. If you are claiming personal injuries as part of your claim, the Defendant’s attorney may arrange for you to be examined by a doctor they have hired, often referred to as an Independent Medical Examination (IME) or Adverse Medical Examination.

IV. Depositions of the Plaintiff ,Defendant and other witnesses.

The parties and other witnesses will be asked a series of oral questions, under oath, by the attorneys. The questions and responses will be recorded by a court reporter. The party’s attorney will meet with him or her just prior to the deposition in order to prepare for the deposition.

V. Mediation

A neutral third party will work with the parties in a dispute toward a settlement agreement.

VI. Pretrial Conference.

The Pretrial Conference is a meeting among the attorneys and Judge just prior to the beginning of a trial to clarify issues and attempt to reach a settlement.

VII. Trial.

A typical trial will consist of the following sample elements that will occur in this order: A jury will be selected if the trial is a jury trial. Otherwise, the judge will determine the verdict and no jury selection will be needed. The Plaintiff’s attorney gives an opening statement. The Defendant’s attorney gives an opening statement. The Plaintiff’s attorney presents its case. The Plaintiff is called to testify. The Plaintiff’s other witnesses are called to testify. The Plaintiff’s Experts are called to testify or their deposition is submitted into evidence and either read to the jury or if it is a video deposition, shown to the jury. NOTE: The Defendant’s attorney will cross-examine each witness following the direct testimony. The Plaintiff’s attorney rests his case. The Defendant’s attorney presents its case. The Defendant may be called to testify. The Defendant’s other witnesses are called to testify. The Defendant’s experts are called to testify or their deposition is submitted into evidence and either read to the jury or if it is a video deposition, shown to the jury. NOTE: The Plaintiff’s attorney will cross-examine each witness following the direct testimony. The Defendant’s attorney rests his case. The Plaintiff’s attorney makes a closing argument. The Defendant’s attorney makes their closing argument. Verdict is determined by the jury or judge if it is a bench trial.