When prepping for business litigation, especially for the first time, a client is like to wonder what the the process is going to be like. Here are three things business litigation lawyers will tell their clients to be prepared for.
Discovery Requests and Lots of Papers
Many businesses produce tons of paperwork, and that particularly applies when it comes to things that are sources of litigation. Plaintiffs and defendants often want to see communications, invoices, copies of agreements with third parties, and a slew of other items.
How do they get these items? The judge will order what's called discovery. In the discovery process, the court requires both sides to turn over all evidence that might shed light on the case. This includes anything that might be harmful to one side's case. Failing to disclose requested items may result in an adverse inference, meaning the court will consider whatever was hidden to be as bad as possible. In extreme cases, the court may even submit a summary judgment if one side's case is thoroughly damaged by an adverse inference.
All of this means that you can expect to receive a lot of papers from the other side. Likewise, you can expect them to ask for lots of your papers, too.
A business litigation lawyer will usually prefer to get sworn testimony from interviews that are conducted long before any trial might happen. This process is known as deposition, and you might be asked to go through it. You will be under oath, meaning that failing to tell the truth is perjury and is punishable with fines and jail time. Similarly, your side can depose parties, including people from the other side, who might have relevant testimony.
Oftentimes, the goal of depositions is to nail down testimony before going to trial. This can box a witness in because they risk committing perjury if they deviate at trial from what they said during a deposition.
Finally, a business litigation lawyer will ask the court to think about many different actions. These requests are referred to as motions. For example, an attorney may file a motion to dismiss right at the beginning of the case to see if the judge is willing to throw the whole thing out. Motions often pertain to the admission of evidence and testimony, too. It's not uncommon for a settlement to be reached once it becomes clear one side is getting the better of these requests.
Contact a business litigation lawyer to learn more.