A lawsuit is a legal action that one party (called the plaintiff) brings to court against another party (called the defendant). The purpose of a lawsuit is to enforce or defend a legal right.
Generally, litigation involves distinct steps: pleadings, discovery, trial and possibly an appeal. However, parties can halt the process by agreeing to settle at any time.
Procedures for filing a lawsuit
The first step in a lawsuit is to file a complaint and summons with the local county court. This document sets out the facts of the case and the legal basis for your claim. It must be served on the defendant and a copy delivered to the court.
Proof of service
After the complaint and summons are filed, the Defendant will be given a specified period of time to file an answer. An answer is a written statement that responds to the allegations set forth in the Complaint.
The process of gathering information about the case from both parties and non-parties. This can include asking questions through interrogatories, requests for production of documents and other evidence, and conducting depositions.
During the discovery phase, the parties may also work with outside counsel to help them prepare for trial. In some cases, a settlement is reached through mediation before a trial begins. In other cases, the parties must go to trial in front of a judge or jury to resolve the dispute.