Litigation is a generic term of art that lawyers use to describe a lawsuit between one or more plaintiffs and one or more defendants. The plaintiff is the party that initiates the lawsuit. The defendant is the party against whom claims by the plaintiff are brought. A defendant could counter-sue by bringing claims back against the plaintiff. A defendant can cross-claim against another defendant.
Lawyers use the term “claim” to mean a “cause of action”. A ‘cause of action’ is another term of art used in the legal community, and it refers to why the plaintiff is suing the defendant. For example, if a plaintiff hired and paid a painter to paint their house yet the painter failed to complete the job, the plaintiff would sue the painter for breach of contract; the cause of action being a breach of contract.
There are generally several stages to a lawsuit. The first is the pre-suit investigation. This means we first investigate the facts to seek to ascertain the legal issues, and how the facts we are able to discover before the commencement of a lawsuit stack up against the legal issues. Once a lawsuit starts, we as lawyers have what is referred to as discovery tools available to ascertain evidence. Discovery tools include depositions, interrogatories, requests for production, requests for inspection, and more. The second stage involves preparing the initial lawsuit papers that start the case, called the complaint. Or for the defendant, the answer is the defendant’s opposition to the complaint. These are referred to as the pleadings, meaning the papers filed in the case that establishes the grounds upon which the parties are suing and defending in the case. The third stage is the discovery phase. It involves collecting evidence to, if you are the plaintiff, prove your causes of action. If you are the defendant, then you seek evidence to disprove the plaintiff’s claims and to support your defenses. The last stage is the trial. At the trial, evidence that is allowed to be used is presented to the trier of fact, either a jury or the judge.
Categories of the types of litigation cases we represent clients in are multiple and include:
- Individual torts
- Will and trust disputes
- First party insurance claims
- Commercial, banking and contract litigation
- Corporate, partnership or ownership disputes
- Shareholder derivative actions
- Banking, mortgage or lender liability claims
- Trade secrets, nondisclosure, and unfair competition lawsuits
- Business torts from fraud to antitrust violations
- Intellectual property claims such as copyrights, trademarks, and patents
- Employment Litigation
- Insurance coverage disputes
- Real estate contract, warranty, and tort claims
- Construction litigation
- Wills and trusts litigation