If suit is filed, litigation will ensue. We include here a discussion of what happens if there is a suit.
When one party files suit, the other party has thirty days to file a written response. This is called the answer. The other party also has the right to file what is known as a “counterclaim” in which they “sue back.”
Written Discovery. After suit is filed and the other party answers, there is what is called the “discovery” phase of the litigation. During discovery, each side asks questions of the other side (“interrogatories”) and requests that certain documents be produced (“requests for production”).
Depositions. Depositions are also an important part of the discovery phase. Depositions take place in a lawyer’s office and the lawyer gets to ask questions of a party or witness under oath before a court reporter who records a transcript of the proceedings. We have the option of deposing any party or witness to this matter prior to trial.
Witness Interviews. As a part of investigation and trial preparation, we sometimes conduct interviews of witnesses outside of the presence of the opposing party, lawyer and court reporter. This is usually done for our witnesses or witnesses that we perceive will be friendly to us or hostile to the other side. There is no reason to go to the expense of deposition with someone that you do not think will be hostile. Moreover, it is generally thought to be unwise to schedule a discovery deposition and save the expense of deposition to the opponent while establishing testimony favorable to our case.
Subpoenas for Records. Another tool that is available in discovery is the subpoena duces tecum. This type of subpoena allows us to obtain various records and information from a number of sources such as banks, employers, credit card companies, stock brokers, phone companies, casinos, car dealers, schools, medical facilities and loan financing companies.
At the end of the road is the final trial. This may be followed by appeals by either party.