Suppose you disagree with another party or parties about a matter. In that case, it could potentially lead to litigation, which means you will need an experienced litigation attorney to represent your interests in court. A civil litigator is a lawyer who works on a case from beginning to end, all the way through post-trial.
There are two broad categories of law, transactional law and litigation. Transactional law is when an attorney drafts or prepares documents for a specific goal, like a business contract. Litigation occurs when two or more parties disagree on one or more issues and decide to have the court intervene and render a ruling. Litigators go to court and handle all pre- and post-trial work, prepare evidence, select witnesses for testimony, and handle your side of the dispute at trial. An experienced litigator can also advise you on potential settlement options and guide you in mediation or arbitration with the opposing party.
At O’Flaherty Law, our civil litigation attorneys are experienced, aggressive, and committed to getting you the best possible result for your case. Whether it is negotiating a settlement, attending mediation, or preparing for trial, the litigation attorneys at O’Flaherty Law have years of experience they can utilize to get you the best possible result for your case.
We believe in comprehensive legal service, which is why our civil litigation attorneys can handle many areas of law, including:
The uncertainty of the Coronavirus, doesn't mean you have to put your legal needs on hold. You can receive a consultation and most legal services without leaving your home. Our attorneys are happy to speak to you by phone, video conference, or e-mail.
Whether you are an employee or an employer, our knowledgeable employment law attorneys use their experience to make sure that your rights are followed in a fair and consistent manner. We will ensure the best possible result in your case.
When you are dealing with a contract dispute or are seeking a contract litigation attorney, it is essential that you have an experienced contract disputes law attorney on your side to guide you through the process.
Let our experienced litigation attorneys guide you throughout your landlord tenant dispute. We will assist you in understanding landlord tenant law and evictions, and we will help you simplify the process.
Our mechanics lien lawyers have a wide range of experience in construction law. We offer a comprehensive approach to our clients, and we will make sure that your lien rights are protected and enforced.
You will begin with a consultation with one of our litigation attorneys. Once you have discussed the main issues and your goals with a civil litigation attorney, the intake team at O’Flaherty will forward you a representation agreement. Once an agreement is signed, your litigation attorney will ask that you forward all related documents for the attorney to review. The attorney will appear in your case if it has already been initiated. Depending on where your case is, your attorney will formulate a strategy for you to get you the best possible result in your case. The outcome of litigation is never guaranteed, but you will be able to rely on your O’Flaherty Law attorney to explain what is going on at each step in your case and provide answers to your questions.
The purpose of a consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. We take your legal matters very seriously, which is why with each consultation, we strive to ensure you feel confident about the future of your case.
Your O’Flaherty Law attorney will guide you through the steps of the litigation. Litigation begins when a complaint is filed. At that point, it will be up to you and your attorney if you want to file an answer or move to have the complaint dismissed. The opposite is true if you are a Plaintiff. The other side will decide if they want to file an answer or move to have your complaint dismissed.
If the case is not dismissed, this is when discovery opens. Discovery is when each side gets to ask the other side questions and request documents relevant to the case. Discovery can be a long and drawn-out process, sometimes taking years if the case is complex or hotly contested.
During discovery and even up to trial both sides could discuss the possibility of settlement. Settlement might not seem like the best idea at the beginning of the case but as facts emerge and costs rise, it becomes a more attractive option to all parties involved. Additionally, the parties may choose or be ordered by the court to attempt to work the issues out in mediation, which is a method of guiding the parties to resolve the issues on their own.
Throughout the litigation, you can expect your attorney to attend scheduling conferences and status conferences with the court, which is a regular part of a case moving through the legal system. There might also be motion practice, which is discussed below. Finally, your attorney will represent you at trial, which could be either bench or jury.
Settlement instead of litigation is always an option worth having a conversation about. Depending on your circumstances, it could be the better option for you. Litigation is stressful and can go on for much longer than anyone anticipates, depending on the other side's resources. Also, a settlement is a remedy you can live with, the court will hand down a remedy you have to live with, and it might not be in your favor.
Your O’Flaherty Law litigation attorney will discuss practical options with you about making or accepting any settlement offer. Your litigation attorney will advise you on whether the offer is any good or what offer to make if you would like to make one. You have complete control over whether to make or take a settlement offer, but your attorney will be able to offer sound advice based on your facts and circumstances.
Sometimes mediation or arbitration is required either by the terms of an agreed-upon contract or the court system wants you to attend mediation. The court will not typically automatically order arbitration. Arbitration is usually a process that is demanded by a specific clause in a written contract. Mediation and arbitration are sometimes thought of as the same thing but are two entirely different processes.
Mediation: non-binding process. You and your attorney will meet with a neutral mediator. The parties work together with the mediator's guidance to find a solution that they can live with. This is an attractive option because the parties get a say in what happens next instead of releasing control of the final decision to a judge or arbitrator.
Arbitration: a binding process often referred to as the “wild west” of alternative dispute resolution. Arbitration is “higher stakes” than mediation because a third party makes the decision, and that decision is binding, thus enforceable by the court system. You as a party will not have a say in the final decision regarding your case.
When you have an issue with something the other side has done during the litigation, you ask the court for relief. When you ask the court for some type of relief it is called a “motion.” Typically, you ask the court if a claim or claims made by the other side are dismissed. Another motion you can file is requesting the court to compel the other party to do something, such as release information relevant to the case that they have been withholding. Once a motion is filed the other side could file an opposition to that motion and then the court will schedule a hearing on the motion.
The discovery process begins early in the litigation. Discovery is where each side can ask the other side questions about the case and ask for documents. The discovery process is also when each side can take depositions if they think it is necessary. A deposition is when one attorney can sit down and ask questions of the other party with that party’s attorney present. A reporter takes a transcript of the deposition which can be introduced at the trial. The party being deposed is also sworn in before being questioned, which makes the deposition responses sworn testimony and subject to the penalties of perjury.
Written discovery can also be served by either side, which consists of Requests to Admit, Interrogatories, and Requests for the Production of Documents. A discovery dispute can arise if one party either cannot or will not answer or produce documents. If the parties and their attorneys cannot resolve the discovery dispute, the court will have to step in and handle the matter. Discovery disputes can extend the litigation time frame considerably and they can also become expensive.
Your attorney will prepare for trial by gathering evidence through the discovery process. At some point, you will have to identify and compile a witness list to file with the court, which can include expert witnesses if the subject is a complex one. Once witnesses are identified, your attorney will speak with them about what they will be testifying to in court. Your attorney will also discuss your testimony with you if you are going to take the stand. It can be highly intimidating to testify in court, but your O'Flaherty Law attorney will be able to guide you on what to expect and will be with you the entire time; you will not go into court unsupported.
There are two distinct types of trial: bench and jury trial. If you ask for a jury trial, there is usually a small fee to be paid, and it will take your attorney extra preparation for trial, in the form of preparing voir dire questions and proposed jury instructions. You always have the right to ask for a jury trial early, usually when filing a complaint or answer.
Bench trial - at a bench trial, there is no jury. A sitting judge will hear the arguments, evidence, and testimony and then make a ruling. In some ways, a bench trial is more accessible than a jury trial because the judge is already an attorney with a solid understanding of the applicable law at issue. On the other hand, a judge might not view your case as favorably as a jury of your peers.
Jury trial - a group of jurors will be selected by the attorneys and then hear the case. There will be a judge running the courtroom and keeping the case flowing smoothly, but the jury will decide who wins the case. On the one hand, it can sometimes be difficult to help a jury understand the relevant law and how it is applied to the specific facts, but a sympathetic jury can also work in your favor, depending on the situation.
Civil Defense - general civil defense simply deals with some small claims and more common legal issues. The claims are rarely complex, and settlement is always an option.
Business and Commercial Litigation - as a business owner, you will inevitably have former clients, vendors, suppliers, and business partners try to sue you over disagreements. An experienced litigation attorney from O’Flaherty Law can either negotiate with the other side or present your case in front of a judge, including contract disputes and litigation. as well as employer/employee disputes, non-compete agreement litigation, and intellectual property disputes.
Collection of Accounts Receivable - if people or businesses owe you money, an experienced litigation attorney can send a demand letter, negotiate a settlement, or file a complaint for a money judgment.
Homeowner Association/Condo Owner Association Litigation - HOAs and COAs have wide latitude in assessing fees and fines and eventually file lawsuits against property owners for “offenses.” It is important to have an experienced litigation attorney look at any agreements you have signed, any covenants or bylaws involved, and then advise you on the possible outcome of litigation.
Insurance Law - insurance law is an area of litigation where your insurance refuses to cover you for an illness or injury that you thought would or should be covered when you bought the policy.
Construction Law -the area of construction litigation is a huge one. It could be as “simple” as a contractor not performing agreed-upon work or active home improvement fraud. A litigation attorney from O’Flaherty will be able to assess your situation and tell you what your legal options are, as well as assist you in reaching your legal goals.
Franchise Litigation - this is an area of law that covers disputes between a franchisor and their supplier. This is a complicated and complex area of litigation, as these disputes can cross state lines or even run afoul of antitrust legislation. A solid commercial litigation attorney with a background in federal practice is required for a great deal of franchise litigation.
Consumer Fraud - there is a great deal of federal legislation that protects consumers against fraud, and your state should also have laws in place to protect you from unscrupulous companies. If you are a consumer who believes that a merchant of services or goods has wronged them, then you may have a consumer fraud claim. The area of consumer fraud is a huge one with a considerable number of potential causes of action.
Defamation - defamation is blanket term for two different causes of action. The first is libel or written defamation, where a party has said something untrue and damaging to your reputation. The other is slander, which is the same as libel, except it is spoken and not written. In the online age, with social media, the issue of defamation has become a far-ranging and complex issue.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress - this is a claim that people often want to bring into court but is exceptionally difficult to prove. Often, there is not a case of intentional infliction of emotional distress because to prove the claim, it must rise above simple annoyance or general anxiety. There would have to be a strong connection between one party's extreme and outrageous actions and the significant distress felt by the other to prove the claim. Furthermore, there would most likely need psychological evaluation and expert witness testimony at trial.
Common Area Maintenance Fraud - landlords often charge their tenants for common area maintenance fees, the cost of keeping up the common areas of the building they are renting in. While this is not an uncommon practice, there are times when a landlord overcharges for maintenance or charges for work that was never performed.
Contested Guardianships & Guardianship Litigation - in the case of both minor guardianship and the guardianship of an incapacitated adult, the guardianship arrangement can be challenged and revoked. Guardianship is a court-appointed order requiring a court order to modify or terminate the guardianship appointment.
Probate Litigation & Estate Disputes - contested wills and contested estates will go through probate litigation when disputes arise after a loved one has passed.
Other Commonly Litigated Issues - home repair fraud, common law fraud, permanent and temporary restraining orders and injunctions, mortgage foreclosure and foreclosure defense.
At O’Flaherty Law, we want you to feel good about how your case is handled. Communication between you and the litigation team at O’Flaherty will always be open and timely. You should feel free to bring any questions or concerns you have to us, but we have found that many clients have the same questions. We have provided the most frequently asked questions and answers below for you.
You will likely have to appear in court at some point. While you do not have to attend scheduling conferences or most status conferences, you should be present for motion hearings and, of course, for trial. Your civil litigation attorney will prepare you for your court appearance by explaining the purpose of the appearance, how the court process will be conducted, and the issues discussed in court. Your attorney will be in with you and will offer support in addition to their appearance as your attorney.
A good amount of evidence procured through discovery will always help, plus cross-examination at trial. If the other party is lying, either in their discovery responses, in a deposition, or on the stand, they are committing perjury.
It is always a strong possibility that your attorney will have you take the stand and testify under oath. The attorney for the other side will also cross-examine you. Once the other side has cross-examined you, your attorney will be allowed to ask additional questions to clarify any statements or issue brought out on cross-examination.
A temporary order should be in place while the matter is litigated. As soon as one party files for a divorce with minor children, they should request that the court enter a temporary order for custody, visitation and support of those children. If there is a custody dispute, the parents will engage in mediation and, if necessary, take the issue of custody to court.
Once the mediation or litigation is finished, the court will enter a permanent custody order. If necessary, that custody order can be modified if and when circumstances change. It is difficult to predict how long it will take to get a permanent custody order in place. It depends on many factors, the most prevalent being how hard the parties fight for custody or if they even fight for custody.
Typically, the other attorney will ask questions framed to present their client’s side of the story in the best possible light. While attorneys cannot usually get away with outright rudeness in court, they will ask tough questions designed to bolster what their client is claiming. Remaining calm and taking your time to answer questions will assist you if things become heated in the courtroom.
You have a few options if you receive a ruling that you believe was inequitable. You can ask for the ruling to be set aside or changed, but you have to have concrete evidence to support that request. You can also appeal, but an appeal is not a re-trial. In an appeal case, no new evidence is presented to the higher court.
You may be able to set aside the judgment or appeal depending on the individual facts and circumstances in your case.
You pay for the time and effort the firm put into providing you with legal services. It is always a cause for celebration when you win your case, but while some laws allow the court to require that the other side pay attorney’s fees, you should be prepared to pay for the legal services provided to you.
You still have to pay the attorney for their time and effort in representing you. No litigation or legal outcome is guaranteed. Any time any party goes to court, there is always a chance that they will lose. It does not excuse them from paying their attorney for the services performed.