Thursday, 7 July 2022

Introduction to American Litigation


Litigation is a term often heard when speaking with legal professionals or even while watching

some movies or TV shows. The word “litigation” is usually confused with the similar term

“lawsuit.” They are both related but are not to be used interchangeably. The fact is litigation is a

fundamental process in resolving any legal dispute. And it mainly takes place before either party

even enters the courtroom. So, what does litigation mean in law? Continue reading as we discuss

exactly what litigation is, why it is essential, and the crucial stages you should expect. Litigation,

meaning “dispute” (litigatio in Latin), is a law concept used to describe the process of enforcing

or defending an entity’s legal rights. It is a contested action usually made in front of a judge

between two opposing sides. The one whose right has been violated, the accuser, is legally

referred to as the plaintiff. In contrast, the other who is accused of violating the plaintiff’s legal

rights is called the defendant. Legal litigation is a general term that involves a wide variety of

legal actions and activities. It includes pre-negotiations such as requesting the approval of legal

letters in hopes of settling the case to avoid trial. Litigation processing also involves:

 Court hearings

 Arbitrations

 Issuance of restraining orders 

 Temporary custody orders

Litigation is usually resolved in a court trial where a judge makes the final decision. Court

appeals are also a part of litigation proceedings. Although, settlement can happen anytime during

litigation and is often completed before a full trial begins. Most litigations involve four distinct

elements or phases. First is the Discovery phase. The legal discovery process is where the

plaintiff and defendant gather evidence to support their case. It consists of sending the other

party a written request to explain their side. It also requires reviewing documents, paperwork,

and related incidents in the past. During this process, it is essential to maximize time, accuracy,

and organization. An electronic document system like Digital WarRoom’s eDiscovery can help

speed the process up for law professionals and firms. Legal professionals prefer to use this

technology to review, manage, and compare electronic paperwork in an efficient and effective

manner. The next phase is filing a Motion. Sometimes, either party is not willing or able to enter

into a settlement. Because of that, one might submit a formal request, a motion, to take the case

into court. The third element is gathering Expert Witnesses. Here, subject matter experts act as

witnesses to help support legal claims. It usually includes credible professionals like private

investigators, doctors, and accountants ,The last element is the Trial. During this phase, all

evidence and facts are presented before a jury and judge. They will ultimately resolve the case

with a final verdict

Contrary to what most people think, litigation doesn’t end when a decision is given by a judge.

Either party still has many legal options in regards to moving forward. This can extend the

litigation process. As long as there is a dispute between the plaintiff and defendant, they will still

both be in litigation. This is common for cases that involve a division of assets or custody

hearings. The bottom line is that litigation can be as quick or as drawn out as the circumstances,

or the parties, dictate.

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