Civil Litigation

How Civil Litigation Works

Civil litigation is the processing of a civil lawsuit through the court system, with the goal of proving your claim based on the law and the facts, such that either the “other side” agrees to a favorable out-of-court settlement, or ultimately a judge or a jury rules in your favor.

While roughly 90 percent of lawsuits settle out of court, competent legal work must be performed throughout the litigation process in each case to ensure the case will be prepared to win at trial if it comes to that.

The initial civil complaint which is filed to start the lawsuit must be written skillfully to maximize the likelihood of the best possible result for the client. After the defendant(s) file their answer with the court, the parties are allowed by court rules a period of time to exchange discovery requests, including written questions which must be answered under oath, demands to provide copies of various documents involved in the dispute, and the taking of the other party’s, or certain witnesses’, depositions.

What Happens At A Deposition

At a deposition, the attorneys interview the person, under oath, before a certified court reporter who records and later produces a written transcript of each question and answer. The transcripts of the depositions can be used as evidence at trial, or to support a special pretrial motion by which one side or the other tries to get the court to rule in their favor without going to trial, based on the law and the uncontroverted evidence brought forward during the discovery process.

Whether the case is resolved by an out-of-court settlement or a judgment after a trial, the result is a legally binding contract or a court order that can be enforced, if necessary, by further court action. As for a settlement agreement, if one side or the other fails or refuses to abide by the agreement, such as to pay an agreed amount of money within the time promised, the unsatisfied party can bring the matter to court to have the agreement enforced as a legally binding contract, without having to re-argue or prove that party’s claim that was the basis of the original dispute.

Paying The Judgment

As for a court judgment, if the losing party fails or refuses to timely pay the amount of money ordered by the court, for example, the prevailing party can seek an attachment of property-or sell previously attached property-or get a court order for periodic installment payments. In either situation, a resolution by settlement or by judgment, the outcome for the parties is also finality-neither party can sue the other for any claims which were raised or should have been raised in the original lawsuit-ever again; once it’s over, it’s over.

How To Contact Us

If you have questions about litigation, schedule an appointment with Healey, Deshaies, Gagliardi & Woelfel, PC, call our office in Amesbury, Massachusetts, at 978-388-1787 or contact us online.