How do you respond to a complaint? Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, there are multiple ways. You can choose fear-, or anger-driven responses, like crying or calling the plaintiff and cursing them out. Or, you can do what so many others who cannot afford a lawyer do. Nothing. So, we’re back at square one. How do you […]
Litigation is a process that can be understood by average people like us. Though it’s governed by rules, laws, regulations, and procedures, it’s written in plain English (mostly). Any playbook that lawyers and judges have come from these laws. They “run” the plays well because they’ve dealt with more cases than we have. Since we have just one, we must run the plays on a learn-as-you-go basis. That requires starting with the basics, like understanding the structure or stages, of litigation. And if you need help representing yourself in civil court, it’s time to join Courtroom5.
Elements of a claim or defense are the most important building blocks of a case. They’re the engine in a train, the heat in boiling water, the lemons in lemonade, the zip in a zipper! In litigation, elements are everything that make up a case. Ignore them at your peril.
While the job of a motion is to persuade a judge to rule in your favor on a single issue, the purpose of writing a pleading is to make allegations of fact clear to both the court and the opposing party. Following these writing tips, will help you make those points more effectively.
You’ve been injured. Someone tarnished your good name, wrongfully wrecked your car, painted your house the wrong color, or gave you a haircut that makes you look like their dog and not yours. You need to sue. This list of 11 things to consider before doing that will help you get all your ducks in a row. Take off the kid gloves. You’re in litigation now.
A motion to dismiss asks or “moves” a judge to end a case because of deficient claims, improper service of summons, or for some other procedural error. A motion to dismiss will result in (1) a denial of the motion, (2) a dismissal “without prejudice”, allowing the plaintiff to amend the complaint, or (3) a dismissal “with prejudice”, which ends the case. “I didn’t do it” does not satisfy the requirements of a motion to dismiss for the defendant, and a simple “I did it right” might not suffice to keep a complaint afloat. Learn what to look for and address what matters in a motion to dismiss.
Litigation is fluid, and you can file many documents at any stage. However, this list will make you aware of available litigation documents and when they are most commonly filed.
Understanding the litigation process will help you formulate the basic strategies you need to put up an effective fight. These simple strategies are designed to give you an idea of things to look out for at each stage of litigation.
It’s a mistake to answer a complaint too early. Are you making unnecessary admissions in the answer? Have you found all available affirmative defenses? Wouldn’t it be better to get the claim dismissed? Give yourself time to prepare before answering a complaint. A court order tells you it’s time.
You’ve just been served with a lawsuit, and the law requires you to answer a complaint within a certain number of days or risk default. Or does it? Read the summons a little closer and you’ll find the language more precise. The law only requires you to respond to the complaint within three weeks (more or […]