For many of us, the action of a courtroom trial is something we associate with movie plots as a dramatic means of resolving conflict. Whilst trials are certainly not confined to celluloid, they aren’t usually the goal of real-life litigation, but rather the end result of having exhausted all other avenues of arriving at an agreement. Litigation law refers to the legal remedies utilized by professionals to address the vast nature of disputes that may arise between persons. Understanding how litigation functions is integral to knowing when to engage legal representation in order to avoid ending up a character in your own courtroom drama.
Litigation is a broad term, defined by the Office of the United States Attorneys as ‘a case, controversy, or lawsuit.’ The litigants, or persons involved, are referred to as plaintiffs and defendants, with the former being the initiator of the dispute, the later the respondent. The nature of the controversies, and therefore the kinds of cases, that can result in litigation, are varied and can occur in multiple relationship settings, including within families, and in small business or corporate environments. In fact, any legal matter in which there is any degree of disagreement between the involved parties, and which could, if unresolved, proceed to a court trial, can be termed litigation.
Some of the more common examples of litigation in a commercial setting, as defined by the Y Jil International Law Journal, include the accidental or intentional injury of a client, customer, or employee on the work premises, and the defamation or sexual harassment of a client or worker. The first stage in any litigious complaint is to engage the legal representation of a firm experienced in that particular area. For example, if the case involves an injured worker, seeking out a law firm that focuses on workplace law is preferable. Litigation matters, unless criminal and falling under State or Federal Prosecuting Offices jurisdiction, are often handled by private law firms, or where a person lacks the means of securing their own legal representation, by non-profit legal organizations.
The litigation process is generally not intended as a precursor to a trial, but rather as a means to avoid court proceedings, with settlement before trial the preferred outcome. The plaintiff will likely be suing the defendant for economic, physical, reputational, or emotional injury, depending on the unique circumstances of the case. The plaintiff’s legal representation will enter into relevant arbitration and mediation proceedings in order to try and secure compensation. If you’re searching in California for a real estate and business law firm that provides litigation representation across a wide range of areas, reach out to the team at Stone & Sallus to discuss your case today.