Civil litigation is a possibility that every business owner faces. While your desire may be to avoid the courtroom, sometimes a lawsuit is necessary in order to protect your business. In addition to the typical civil lawsuit, there are 3 other forms of civil litigation that you need to be aware of before proceeding:
1. Small claims lawsuit
2. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
3. Class action litigation
Small claims lawsuits are similar to typical civil lawsuits, with the exception that you don't need to have a litigation attorney represent you and there's a limit to the funds recoverable if you win. ADR provides for resolution out of the courtroom through mediation or arbitration. In a class action litigation, the plaintiff represents a larger number of people or businesses who suffered the same alleged wrong-doing.
Determine which cause of action best suits your litigation caseIf someone wrongs your business and refuses to make things right, then civil litigation is your best option. Determine which type of civil litigation will give you the best results in your case. Consider a small claims case, if you seek to recover a small amount, typically under $5,000. If others suffered loss as you did, class action litigation may be the right choice. If both parties agree to settle the matter out of court with a mediator (suggests a resolution) or arbitrator (decides the resolution), ADR is more efficient. Alternatively, if none of these options work for your case, than a simple civil lawsuit will work best.
Familiarize yourself with the civil litigation processCivil suits, small claims court and class action litigation have a specific process from start to finish. First, file your complaint with the court in the form of a Petition. The Petition is then served to the defendant you name and a court date is set. If the defendant doesn't appear in court, you will likely get a judgement against her. If the defendant does appear, your attorney requests a trial and the discovery process begins.
Hire a litigation attorneyClass action and ADR cases require litigation services from an attorney. Most litigation attorneys have years of experience in the courtroom and will provide the appropriate litigation support.
- Use a litigation support company, such as CT Summation or DOAR Litigation Consulting, if you plan to represent yourself in your civil case. Litigation support firms provide training for the courtroom and case citations to assist you in winning your case.
- Familiarizing yourself with the litigation process will help you to protect your business from being sued. There are also several tactics, especially with respect to business contracts, that can keep you out of the courtroom. Refer to the Other Links section below for further information.