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The Litigation Process

The Litigation Process

The Litigation Process

You unfortunately are a party to a civil lawsuit, either the plaintiff or the defendant. The complaint has been filed and an answer with affirmative defenses has been filed. Written discovery consisting of interrogatories, requests for admissions and document production have been served on all parties and verified answers have been submitted in response. Depositions of the parties and third party witnesses have been taken as well as subpoenas for document production served on third parties and documents produced.

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Expert witnesses depositions will soon be taken as well. So, when do you go to trial to resolve the dispute assuming the action is not settled beforehand at a mediation or mandatory settlement conference?

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Trial setting

The vast majority of jurisdictions in this country have a trial setting conference where the lawyers for a party appear and a trial date is set. The problem is that due to budgetary cuts in the court system, there are too many cases for far too judges to try the first time a case comes up for trial call. Also, due to one’s Constitutional Right to a speedy trial in criminal matters, criminal cases get preference for being tried before a civil action.

Typically a litigant gets at least ninety (90) days notice that his or her case is set for a trial. Whether the case actually goes to trial on the date set depends upon whether a criminal case gets preference or whether there is a civil case that has been filed longer than your own that gets preference for the scarce court rooms.

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The key in getting through the litigation process and any trial for a litigant is to stay in communication with his attorney and be patient with the court system.

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