Civil litigation matters are non-criminal disputes between individuals wherein there has been a breakdown in communication so severe that one party decides to take the matter to court.
Civil litigation can encompass matters ranging from multi-million dollar class action lawsuits to low-level cases heard in small claims courts. In the state of Arizona, the maximum amount for a case in small claims court must not exceed $3,500. When a claim exceeds that amount, it is handled in the Justice Court or Superior Court.
Our firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation. The plaintiff is the party that initiates legal action. The defendant is the party that is “defending” the claims which are brought against them by the plaintiff.
To our office, it doesn’t make a difference whether our clients are seeking to bring legal action or defend against it — we can represent clients on either side of a business dispute.
When we work with plaintiffs who are looking to sue, the first step is to go over their case. We will discuss all the details of their situation with them and have conversations about all the pros, cons, strengths, and weaknesses of a lawsuit.
In many cases, we may advise our clients to pursue mediation instead of litigation. This is because litigation can require significant retainers, be very costly, and result in the liability of the defendant’s legal fees in the event of an unsuccessful suit. We are committed to providing comprehensive analysis for every case to ensure that our clients are aware of every potential outcome and the associated risks.
When we work with defendants who require defense representation, we begin with very similar methods. We will look at every aspect of the case against them and discuss their available options. Depending on the strengths or weaknesses in their case, we may advise a vigorous defense or the consideration of settlement discussions.
What Generally Is The Civil Lawsuit Process And The Potential Outcomes?
The civil lawsuit process follows a similar structure for each case. At the very beginning, the case is initiated when the plaintiff files a complaint with the court and it is then served on the defendant. After receiving the complaint, the defendant has a certain amount of time in which to answer. After this process, if the suit goes to court, there is a trial.
An exceptionally small number of cases ever actually go to trial. By the estimate of our office, 90% or more of the civil suits filed in Arizona are settled, dismissed, or withdrawn before they ever see the courtroom.
So what happens in the time between the complaint filing and any potential trial or settlement? There begins a period of “law and motion” and “discovery”. This refers to the fact that, in many civil cases, the majority of either side’s interaction with a judge will be through the filing of motions.
The two most common motions filed during this period are:
A Motion to Dismiss which claims that there is not a valid basis for the suit, and asks that the court dismiss it; and a Motion for Summary Judgment which claims that there is no dispute of the important facts of the case and asks the court to rule in favor of the filing party without further litigation.
Additionally, there is a period of Discovery. During discovery, each side seeks out evidence to support their claim. This evidence may be found in the form of requesting documents, the deposition of both parties and other witnesses, and more.
These processes can take a long time. This is in part because there are notices which must be given to all parties and scheduling issues that can put meetings and depositions weeks or months ahead.
It is incredibly rare for any party to get a quick day in court like it’s seen on TV. Civil lawsuits easily take months and even years of very expensive legal proceedings before, if ever, they go to trial.
For more information on Civil Litigation Representation In Arizona, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (623) 526-5597 today.
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