1. What Is Civil Litigation?
Civil Litigation differs from Criminal Law in that civil issues do not involve criminal charges. In the Civil World, there is no Criminal Complaint, Indictment or any pending criminal case that affects a person’s liberty and freedom. Instead, the issues deal with civil disputes, with the common denominator being money. People commonly have disagreements and other contractual disputes involving money, or file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages.
The subject of the civil dispute can vary widely. For example, a person might sue regarding a breach of contract. That is, you and someone else enter into a contract, and during the course of your agreement, the other person fails to honor their side of the bargain. In order to get them to comply with the agreement, or to terminate the agreement with your money intact, a lawsuit must be filed.
Further, a person may seek damages as a result of being assaulted. Similarly, a person may argue that their civil rights were violated in some way. There are countless examples of why a person may file a lawsuit to seek justice and legal redress. Watford Jackson, PLLC., will help you pursue these claims. And to win. We will file a lawsuit on your behalf to compel the other side to meet their obligations. Additionally, we will seek all permissible monetary damages.
2. How Do We Win Your Civil Case?
The first thing Watford Jackson will do for you is to engage in a process called “due diligence”. We interview our clients to get all the information concerning your dispute. In doing so, we will learn all of the underlying information and relevant facts. During the interview, we will request records, documents, statements, reports, text messages, emails, witness information, audio and video evidence — if any, and whatever else gives us a complete picture of what occurred. Many of these items may end up as court exhibits to support your claims— as long as they are not confidential, overly sensitive or in any way privileged.
We will also need to interview any witnesses who can shed light on the facts, or who can be helpful in aiding your cause. Interviewing these witnesses often gives us valuable evidence and information to support your claims, and establish the proof we need to prevail in court. They may also have or lead us to other evidence and information which favors your case and corroborates the claims we are making on your behalf.
This process also allows us to discover whether there are any holes, inconsistencies, gaps, contradictions, or other weaknesses in the claims we are asserting. Getting this information is invaluable in helping us be prepared for the battle ahead. It also puts us in a favorable position to anticipate the arguments which will be raised by the other side. It’s critically important to know what they will say to wiggle out of their responsibilities. We don’t let this happen. Watford Jackson is all about establishing accountability.
3. What’s the Civil Litigation Process Like?
The Civil litigation process could be long, grueling and complex. That’s why hiring Watford Jackson can work wonders in your favor. We understand the process and know how to get things done. That equals results for you.
The process starts with the drafting and filing of a Summons and Complaint. The Summons is the document that Summons the party you are suing to appear in Court to answer the claims. The Complaint is the document that lists the specific facts and grievances that make up the heart of why you are actually suing. That is the documents that we file after consulting with you to get the particulars about your case.
Thereafter, we request that a Judge be assigned to the case to oversee the schedule of when important deadlines are met and information is exchanged. Your adversary will have a chance to respond to your claims. They will also have an opportunity to request information from you to prepare their defense. Similarly, you can also make demands and requests of them through us— your lawyers.
Depositions are taken during the process which require you, your adversary, and any other relevant witnesses to answers questions and provide information. Everyone must answer these questions under oath. This is part of the “Discovery” process. It is called “discovery” because it’s a search (discovery) of and for the truth. During deposition questioning, probing questions will be asked about dates, times, places, people, transactions, events, activities, interactions, and other evidence. The other evidence includes records, documentation, audio, video and anything else that relates to the dispute.
Much of the information gathered is voluntarily produced by the parties. Often times, the parties cannot agree on whether the information requested should be supplied. In that event, a subpoena is sought from the judge to acquire the disputed information. At Watford Jackson, we fight to get any and all information that can help our clients succeed. In this regard, we leave no stone unturned to get to the truth, and in gathering everything we need to help support our case. Watford Jackson wins.
4. What Is a Motion to Dismiss?
It is common in a Civil Proceeding for a “Motion to Dismiss” to be filed by the party being sued. In this regard, the opposing party attempts to convince the court to dismiss the case. This generally happens after all of the discovery has been finished. It’s at that time, that both parties to the proceeding have all of the information that will be used at trial.
The Motion is usually called a “Motion For Summary Judgment”. In such a Motion, the facts of the Complaint in the lawsuit are accepted as true. The argument being made against you is that even if the facts in the Complaint are accepted as true, they do not state a claim for which a lawsuit should be permitted. In short, your adversary is saying that your lawsuit should be dismissed. The argument for the dismissal is that the facts do not state a claim for which any legal relief could be granted. After reviewing both parties papers and arguments, the Judge makes this decision.
The standard the Judge applies is one that weighs heavily in permitting the case to move forward, and to be heard by the jury, so long as the facts make out an actual legal claim. The facts in the lawsuit are presumed to be true by the Judge for the purpose of deciding the Motion to Dismiss. At trial, those facts have to be proven by a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not). At the Motion stage, however, the Judge presumes the facts have been proven and makes a decision as to whether the claims stated in the lawsuit are sufficient enough to be heard by a jury. At Watford Jackson, we leave no stone unturned to protect your claim. We believe that getting your case before a jury gives us the best path to victory. That’s why we work so hard to get you there.
There are various parts of a trial that we fight to advance your interests. From the opening bell to the closing argument, we never miss an opportunity to advocate on your behalf. That starts with picking a jury that is favorable to our client (YOU). After doing so, we never miss an opportunity to persuade that jury to view you and your case favorably. Jury selection allows us to start the process of conditioning those deciding your case to view it in a favorable light. That means, you WIN.
In our Opening Statement to the jury, we tell your story. By doing so, we passionately advance your claim before the jury and get them to understand why they should decide in your favor. Thereafter, every witness we call is brought before the jury to advance your interests, and to explain your claims. The witnesses are called to give testimony on your behalf as well as to introduce evidence for the jury in the form of exhibits. Exhibits generally include documents, emails, text messages, pictures, video, audio and anything else that is helpful in explaining what occurred. The more compelling the exhibits, the better opportunity we have to be victorious.
We also prepare our witnesses to face cross examination. Cross examination provides the opposition with a chance to discredit witnesses. This is arguably the most important aspect of the trial. Every piece of evidence is challenged. Memories are questioned, observations are scrutinized, and claims are closely evaluated. Every inconsistency is magnified, contradiction highlighted, and discrepancy noted. If done well, it’s a game changer. Here at Watford Jackson we prepare our witnesses to withstand cross examination. Additionally, when it comes to our chance to cross examine witnesses for our clients, we are the best in the business.
After your case is presented, your adversary gets the chance to present their case. It is at that time that we have the opportunity to test and undermine their theory. Watford Jackson is about getting to the truth. We do, and we will.
The Final Phase of a trial is the Closing Arguments. It is at this time that Watford Jackson has the ability to do two critical things. First, to summarize the evidence in the case. And second, to persuade the jury through that summary, that our client should win. We do this by reminding the jury of the favorable testimony, showing them the exhibits that support our client’s claims, and explaining why our theory of the case must prevail. We have a winning strategy, a winning team, and present winning arguments. Let us win for YOU!!!
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