The term “civil litigation matters” covers a wide range of legal activities in the state of Florida. Civil litigation may involve contract disputes, civil torts, business and commercial disputes, real estate disputes, and contract disputes in many different areas of the law. As an example, the area of intellectual property includes patent disputes, trademark litigation, copyright litigation, and trade secrets. Family law is another legal area that focuses on family matters such as adoption, divorce, child custody, and protective orders.
In spite of the differences in the distinct areas of laws, most civil lawsuits share an ordered and common process for handling civil litigation. That process can be confusing and frustrating with delays and obstacles along the way that can be challenging. There is a great benefit to being represented by a top civil litigation law firm in Tallahassee, Florida with lawyers who can review your case and develop a strategy that addresses your specific issues and needs.
The Steps In The Florida Civil Litigation Process
Florida’s civil litigation process may begin with a person filing a claim against another person or entity because of a contractual incident or accident. The plaintiff who files the initial claim is seeking some type of resolution to the issue such as monetary compensation or a decision on an action that can be allowed or banned. The defendant is the person or entity being accused.
First, the plaintiff meets with a civil litigation attorney to discuss their legal matter to determine whether to pursue litigation or resolve the situation in another way. If the individual decides to go ahead with a lawsuit, the lawyer begins the process by preparing and filing a complaint and a summons. The complaint identifies the claims against the party being sued.
The defendant has a specific amount of time to respond to the complaint to admit or deny the allegations. That includes any legal defenses the defendant has, and any claims they have against the plaintiff.
When an answer is filed, both parties begin discovery which is an exchange of documents and other information regarding the cause for the lawsuit. Discovery may involve:
- Written questions to be answered under oath,
- A request for documents, and
- Depositions of witnesses.
The information gathered during discovery is evaluated to determine whether the case can be settled, or preparations need to be made to proceed to arbitration, mediation, or a trial.
Throughout the litigation process, motions can be filed by either side to settle one or more issues which are decided by the court before a trial begins. If the case is not resolved through a settlement, it proceeds to trial. The parties submit the evidence and arguments for their side of the case. At the conclusion, a judgment is entered in favor of one party. One or both parties have the right to appeal the decision of the trial court.
Every civil lawsuit is different and proceeds at a different pace. There is no set time limit for the civil litigation to conclude. Civil litigation can be complex and may require the advice of a top civil litigation attorney throughout the process to achieve the best outcome.
When all other measures have been exhausted, and an agreeable resolution is nowhere in sight, it may be time to consider litigation. Even though most matters can be resolved outside of court, sometimes an issue requires the legal system’s judicial intervention. Should you find yourself in a civil dispute, the best course is to seek the advice of an attorney who is well-versed in civil litigation matters. At The Fredrickson Law Firm, we are committed to preserving our clients’ rights and representing them in court when necessary.
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