Any type of dispute regarding a business transaction is a major headache for those involved. If you are a business owner, a lawsuit could force you to shut down. If you are a consumer, filing a lawsuit can seem overwhelming and can cause you significant stress and attorney fees.
Once all other options have been exhausted, it may be a business owner or consumer’s only choice. If you find yourself in the process of litigation, you need help from a business litigation attorney at The Sterling Law Group, A.P.C.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
There are some courts that require some form of ADR; additionally, some contracts may require ADR; both of these issues can be determined by an experienced attorney when they review the facts and circumstances of someone’s individual case.
Prior to a lawsuit, both parties may participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The most common types of ADR for civil suits are negotiation, mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation, and settlement conferences.
- Negotiation: a method of dispute resolution in which both parties settle their differences and reach a mutual agreement through discussion. There is no third-party intervention.
- Mediation: a method of dispute resolution in which a “mediator” or impartial third party intervenes to help both disputing parties come to a mutually acceptable agreement.
- Arbitration: a method of dispute resolution in which an impartial third party “arbitrates,” or hears evidence from both sides, and decides the outcome of a case. The rules of evidence are often more relaxed than trial. An arbitrator’s decision may be final (binding), or either side may request a trial if they are unhappy with the arbitrator’s decision (non-binding).
- Neutral Evaluation: a method of dispute resolution in which both parties present their sides to an “evaluator,” who is often an expert in the field. The evaluator will examine the strengths and weaknesses of both sides and make a suggestion on how to resolve the dispute.
- Settlement Conferences: a method of dispute resolution in which both parties and their respective attorneys meet to discuss compromise and settlement opportunities. Settlement conferences may be mandatory or voluntary, and they are often scheduled close to the trial date.
Initial Pleadings in a Business Litigation Lawsuit
If all attempts to settle fail, then the case may be brought to trial.
The litigation process (bringing a case to trial) begins with the filing of a complaint, which is a court pleading. A pleading is a written document drafted by a litigant (person involved in a lawsuit) stating their position in a case.
The first two types of pleadings in a business litigation lawsuit are the complaint and answer.
Complaint: the plaintiff must file the first pleading called a complaint in court. In accordance with the California Rules of Court Rule 3.110 (b), the plaintiff has only 60 days to serve the defendant the Summons and complaint.
Answer: the defendant files and serves the response, stating their defenses in response to the claims formulated against them. California Code of Civil Procedure § 412.20 (a)(3) dictates that the defendant has 30 days after being served the complaint to respond (this includes weekends and holidays). Depending on the circumstances of your individual case, the attorney may also recommend a Demurrer, Motions to Strike, or Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings – ways to potentially dismiss all or part(s) of the complaint against you very early on.
Due to these strict timeframes, the ramifications of missing them, as well as the many options that exist for how to prepare a complaint or respond to one it is best to contact a business litigation attorney who can guide you through the complicated process of litigation.
A Business Litigation Attorney Making You a Priority
Any business litigation lawsuit is going to evolve rapidly. You need a business litigation attorney who is not only up to speed on the changes happening in your case but also meeting crucial deadlines. Contact us today to discuss your concerns and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.