SACRAMENTO LITIGATION ATTORNEY
Our Litigation Process
Step 1: Evaluation. Analyze the facts of your case to determine whether or not allegations of wrongdoing exist.
Step 2: Retention. If wrongdoing exists, prepare draft complaint for your review and approval.
Step 3: Initiate Complaint. File and serve finalized complaint on defendants.
Step 4: Response. After 30 days, the defendants are required to respond, they usually request one or more extensions.
Step 4.5: Potential Mitigation. This is a half-step because it is not guaranteed. When the defendants' time to respond is nearing, the attorney for the defendants will usually contact us to determine the validity of the claim. If the impropriety on the part of the defendants can be remedied (i.e. modification application adequately reviewed) it is usually here where the attorneys can begin working on what is known as mitigating (or reducing) damages. If the defendants have made a mistake, they will often attempt to fix it.
Step 5: Challenges. If step 4.5 does not occur, the defendants will usually challenge the complaint on some legal basis requesting that the judge dismiss the case. This is usually done by way of demurrer or motion to strike. The defendants do this for two reasons; first, it is a free opportunity to get some claims dismissed; second, it is the defendants' opportunity to demonstrate that they will not go down without a fight; finally, it is a great and easy way to bill the corporate defendant thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Step 6: Opposition. We vigorously oppose the challenge or amend the complaint if we feel the challenge has any merit (it usually does not).
Step 6.5: Potential Mitigation #2. This is another half-step as it is not quite guaranteed. If we prevail on the challenge to the complaint, the defendants will not get another chance to challenge the complaint until quite a bit of legal fees are incurred (see Step 7 below). At this point, it is a good time to revisit the issue of settlement to avoid what become quite costly at this point on. Sometimes, the defendants will meet in the middle, sometimes they will not. In any event, we are aggressive advocates for early resolution if it is fair to our clients.
Step 7: Discovery. We prevail or lose on the challenge to the complaint. If we prevail, we move on to discovery in preparation for trial. Discovery consists of written and oral testimony relating to the facts of the case.
Step 8: Summary Judgment. After we and the defendants have had an opportunity to peek at each other's evidence, the opportunity for a motion for summary judgment presents itself. If we feel the defendants do not have sufficient evidence to defend the allegations, we request that the court immediately rule in your favor as a matter of law. If the defendants feel that we do not have sufficient evidence, they can do the same. This is usually done by the defendants for the same reasons set forth in Step 5.
Step 9: Trial. If we prevail on the summary judgment motion, we move forward and begin preparing for trial, where the jury and/or judge will determine whether or not wrongdoing exists and what, if any, remedies you should receive as a result of the wrongdoing.
Step 10: Appeals. If either side feels that an error was made during trial, an appeal may be taken requesting that the higher court's reverse the decision.
Step 11: Judgment. If the case is not overturned, you are awarded a binding judgment and you can begin enforcing it.
Step 12: Attorneys' Fees and Costs. If any of the allegations call for an award of attorneys' fees, we will move to recover them. Some statutes call for attorneys' fees so as to ensure litigants are reimbursed for litigation expenses, including attorneys' fees. The goal is to ensure that you are not penalized for having to hire and pay an attorney to represent you. Costs are also recoverable whether or not fees are awarded.