Legal Information on Business Litigation
The Decatur, Illinois law firm of Featherstun, Gaumer, Postlewait, Stocks, Flynn & Hubbard has provided sharply honed litigation services for small and medium-sized businesses throughout central Illinois since 1929. Our business law attorneys handle the full range of legal services for our business clients, including contract disputes, business formation matters, all legal matters important to farm owners, commercial transactions and labor disputes and employment law issues. Contact us to discuss your business litigation questions.
Litigation - An Overview
While much of the publicity on legal matters focuses on the verdict or end result of a lawsuit, many people are oblivious to the litigation process itself. As the centerpiece of our justice system, litigation is the broad and encompassing term that describes the process of preparing and presenting a case at trial. While most often, litigation is used in reference to a trial, this process also includes garnering information in preparation for a case, negotiation and settlement. Through litigation, individuals and businesses can resolve a variety of disputes involving issues such as insurance coverage, trademark infringement, personal injury and contract disputes. If you are involved in a legal dispute and think you may need to file a lawsuit, or if you have been sued, an experienced litigation attorney at Featherstun, Gaumer, Postlewait, Stocks, Flynn &Hubbard in Decatur, Illinois can guide you through the process.
With countless legal issues being litigated in today's courts, it is important for businesses and individuals to understand the critical points of the litigation process. This information center explains how the process of filing pleadings, obtaining discovery and seeking summary judgment shape the litigation process and how cases can be won, lost and ultimately resolved before they go to trial.
Pleadings set forth the initial claims, allegations and defenses and highlight factual and legal issues to be brought before the court. These documents also help to narrow and define the issues that will ultimately be litigated. Pleadings must be carefully written, and at times, revised to properly establish a party's legal claims. Pleadings include the complaint, answer to the complaint, answer to any counterclaims or cross claims, third-party complaint and answer to third-party complaint.
Discovery is the process of obtaining pertinent information from the other party through the exchange of documents, testimony and related information. Discovery allows each party to learn about and analyze facts that may support (or weaken) its case. The parties have several methods for obtaining information available to them.
Summary judgment is a pretrial motion in which a party seeks a decision on one or more issues in the case, thus making a trial unnecessary. Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment will be granted if there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The basic idea behind summary judgment is that issues based on undisputed facts do not require a trial. If the facts are undisputed, there are no issues for the jury to decide, and the court can issue a judgment based on the facts set forth in the pleadings.
Trial and Appeal
The actual trial is the stage of litigation with which people are generally the most familiar. Many people have seen dramatizations of the courtroom and trial in movies and on television shows, though often these scenes are far removed from "real life" trials. The trial is the time for both sides to present their arguments and facts to the judge and/or jury. The parties can call witnesses for questioning, cross-examine the opposing party's witnesses and introduce exhibits, which are pieces of evidence generally obtained during the discovery process. The attorneys will make opening statements and closing arguments and then the case will be sent to the judge or jury for a decision. If the losing party believes that an error was made in the trial court, the party may generally appeal the final judgment.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a term that refers to settling legal disputes without going to trial. There are a number of different forms of alternative dispute resolution including arbitration (binding and non-binding), mediation, summary jury trials, mini trials and moderated settlement conferences. Generally, it is thought that ADR is less expensive and less time consuming than traditional litigation.
Litigation can be complex. If you have a legal dispute or if you have been injured, you may be considering filing a lawsuit. Or, perhaps you have just been named as a defendant in a lawsuit. What do you do now? A trial attorney at Featherstun, Gaumer, Postlewait, Stocks, Flynn &Hubbard in Decatur, Illinois can help you avoid the pitfalls of the litigation process and prepare your case for trial.
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Featherstun, Gaumer, Postlewait, Stocks, Flynn & Hubbard - with offices in Decatur, Illinois - is known in the business community for providing high-quality legal services to small- and medium-sized businesses throughout central Illinois. We believe in a client-centered approach to business litigation, which means that we plan every course of action in consultation with our clients and make sure our business clients understand every step we take on the road to achieving their goals and protecting their interests.
Litigation Resource Links
The Administrative Office of the US Courts - PACER Service Center
American Association for Justice
National Center for State Courts
United States Department of Justice
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
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