Litigation is the legal process through which the plaintiff and defendant (litigants) argue their side in court to achieve a specific outcome (monetary award, injunction to stop use of patented invention, avoidance of paying a settlement, etc.).
Both businesses and individuals can file complaints with the court to start the process. In the end, the side that provides the best argument or demonstrates enough proof of their claim wins the suit. Typically a judge determines which side wins in litigation, but in some states, sides may request a trial by jury instead.
The Litigation Process
The party who initially files a complaint with the court is known as the Plaintiff. The party or parties named in the complaint are known as the Defendants. Once a complaint has been filed, defendants have a specific amount of time to file a response. From there, other documents providing evidence against the defendant or plaintiff may be filed along with compensation demands.
In many cases, these lawsuits never make it to a courtroom. Other means including mediation and arbitration may be used to help plaintiffs and defendants reach some sort of agreement (monetary compensation, injunction or other constraints, etc.). Mediation and arbitration typically cost less than a trial and help ensure that both parties feel satisfied with the end result – unlike a trial where a judge (or jury) rules either for the plaintiff or defendant.
If the case goes to trial, the party that doesn’t win the lawsuit may file an appeal. This may or may not lead to a retrial or the overturning of a ruling.
The mediation process involves each side sitting down and negotiating the finer points of the lawsuit until an agreement is reached. A trained, professional mediator acts as a neutral third-party to help both sides reach a fair agreement. Agreements reached during mediation are non-binding, which means that neither party has to legally follow-through with the agreed upon settlement. In most cases, however, both parties involved really want resolution and try their best to adhere to the agreement. If a mutual agreement is not possible or is not upheld, the lawsuit may continue to trial.
Similar to mediation, the arbitration process helps both parties reach a fair agreement. The only real difference is that all agreements reached during the process are binding – meaning that both parties must adhere to the agreement or face further charges.
Types of Litigation
There are many types of litigation including:
- business litigation
- commercial litigation
- civil litigation
- securities litigation
- personal injury litigation
- intellectual property (IP) litigation
The type of litigation a particular lawsuit falls into depends on the nature of the suit.
This type of litigation involves one or more businesses or individuals. Lawsuits pertaining to breach of contract, copyright or patent infringement, fraud, or unfair competition, commonly fall into this category.
This type of litigation involves one or more businesses or individuals. Lawsuits pertaining to aspects of business include partnership disputes, business dissolution, employee disputes, licensing agreements, class action suits, and other related business matters may fall into this category.
Civil litigation typically involves one or more individuals seeking monetary damages rather than a legal ruling. Reasons to file a civil lawsuit include wrongful death, medical malpractice, anti-trust issues, employee safety issues, personal injury, and landlord/tenant disputes.
Securities litigation include lawsuits filed by employees, partners, shareholders, fund managers, pensioners, and others that pertain to potential violation to the Securities Act of 1933, breach of contract, or misuse of company or organizational funds.
Personal Injury Litigation
This type of litigation may also fall under civil litigation as most people that file personal injury lawsuits seek monetary damages for work-related, medical malpractice, slip and fall, or other types of personal injury that may inhibit their ability to earn a living or advance in their career.
Intellectual Property (IP) Litigation
This type of litigation may also fall under business or commercial litigation. IP litigation typically involves businesses or individuals that file a complaint for infringement of their ideas, recordings, or trade names. Typically, the plaintiff claims the defendant knowingly or unknowingly used their protected works or processes without permission.
The Lexero Law Firm Can Help
If you want to file a complaint for litigation or you’ve been named in a litigation complaint, contact Lexero Law Firm today. The firm offers an attorney roster that is can offer expert counsel, advice, and representation in court, mediation, and arbitration proceedings.