While no businessperson wants to hear “it depends” when they ask how long, and subsequently how expensive, their civil litigation will be, making this estimate really is a case-by-case scenario. An experienced Utah business litigation attorney can review your particular case and make a more accurate estimate, but there are a number of more difficult-to-predict variables as well.
Before filing a lawsuit, there are a number of steps an attorney takes to make sure litigation is the best route. The attorney will gather information to ensure the statements in the claim are accurate. Then, he may reach out to the other side to see if settlement is possible before filing the action. He will also spend time talking to the client to discuss initial case strategy and review any questions of law and fact that are being raised in the lawsuit. In some cases, this preparatory work done by the attorney can help bring the problem to resolution without the need for litigation.
Filing and Written Discovery
Where to file the case and the subsequent timeline is determined by the value of the matter in question, the type of lawsuit, and the locations of the parties. If multiple options are available, choosing where to file is a strategic decision. Once you’ve chosen the court and filed, the clock starts moving on the case.
While many of the steps move forward simultaneously, the next big project is written discovery. This is where each side gets to ask the other questions and request they produce documents to back up the claims made in their initial filing. Both sides have a chance to review relevant material held by the other side, have it reviewed by an expert, and ask additional questions. This process can be quick for small cases or take months for larger or more complex matters.
Both sides may ask the court to consider certain questions before the case comes to trial by filing motions. These motions could include one saying that the other side hasn’t shown any factual dispute that the court could hear or that it’s not the right court to decide the question. What motions to file and which to argue is another strategic decision your experienced Utah business lawyer will make. This motion practice can start shortly after filing the case, continue right up until a few minutes before the trial begins, and even continue after the trial has concluded. This may seem like a lot, but you and the lawyer you choose will discuss in detail what this is likely to look like for your case.
Depositions and Experts
If necessary, you’ll conduct depositions. This is a chance for your attorney to ask questions of the other side, their witnesses, and their experts under oath and have their answers recorded by a court reporter. The other side will likely conduct depositions as well. Like written discovery, the goal of depositions is to prevent surprise information from coming to light when the case goes to trial. Many problems resolve after depositions are finished.
Depending on the case, you may choose, or be required, to go to mediation before going to trial. In each of these situations, you present your side to a judge or jury and the other side does as well. Witnesses are questioned, experts present their conclusions, and there is a chance for each side to ask questions of the other. After both sides have finished their presentations, the judge or jury will issue a ruling or conclusion. It’s important to know that they a judge may wait and consider for a period before issuing a decision, unlike a jury that generally deliberates and then comes to a decision at the end of a trial.
While not all cases are appealed, if you or the opposing party believes that the judge made a mistake in applying the law, then you can appeal the case to the next level appellate court. Once an appeals court has made their ruling, the case then may go back to the trial court for final resolution. Business litigation can be stressful. Having an experienced business litigation team on your side, like the team from Dunn Law Firm is important. Our attorneys take the time to really understand the situation and give you a clear picture of what will be involved in litigating your specific case from the initial meeting. We also strive to communicate regularly throughout the process. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.