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Learn How the process works.
Litigation begins when one party files a complaint or a petition with the court, outlining the legal basis for their claims against the other party. The party filing the complaint is known as the plaintiff
Once the complaint is filed, the plaintiff must ensure that the defendant is properly notified of the legal action. This is known as the service of process, and it is a fundamental part of due process to ensure the defendant has an opportunity to respond.
The defendant, upon receiving the complaint, has a specified period to respond. The response typically includes an answer to the allegations, and the defendant may also assert counterclaims against the plaintiff.
This phase involves gathering evidence from both parties to build their case. Discovery methods include depositions, interrogatories, requests for documents, and more. It aims to uncover facts, identify witnesses, and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each side's case.
Before the trial, either party may file motions asking the court to rule on specific legal issues. Common motions include motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and motions to exclude certain evidence.
Parties often engage in settlement discussions at various stages of litigation. Settling out of court can save time and costs, and both parties may reach a mutually agreeable resolution.
If a settlement is not reached, the case proceeds to trial. During the trial, each party presents evidence, witnesses, and legal arguments to support their case. A judge or jury then makes a decision based on the presented evidence and applicable law
After a trial, either party may file post-trial motions, and if dissatisfied with the outcome, they may appeal the decision to a higher court.