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Civil Litigation

When there is a legal dispute between two or more parties that involves money damages or other non-criminal assistance from the Courts, they will engage in civil litigation. A lawyer who specializes in civil litigation is known as a “litigator” or “trial lawyer.” Lawyers who practice civil litigation represent parties in trials, hearings, arbitrations and mediations before administrative agencies, foreign tribunals and federal, state and local courts.

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While many disputes are settled prior to a lawsuit being filed, if litigation (the process whereby the Courts resolve the dispute) is necessary, most often it begins by the filing of a summons and complaint by a Plaintiff. The complaint describes the nature and claims of the lawsuit and the remedy that is being asked for. The party being sued must file a response to the complaint within 20 days, most often by filing an ‘Answer’. If the party who is being sued (the Defendant) fails to file a timely response, a default is usually entered and a judgment will follow based on affidavits and documents supporting the claim.

After the complaint and answer (the ‘Pleadings’) have been filed, a process called ‘discovery’ begins. Information is exchanged by the parties through questions that must be responded to in writing under oath (interrogatories), requests for production of documents, and depositions, oral statements under oath.

When discovery is complete, the case will be heard either by the Court or a Jury.

The lifespan of a lawsuit can range from several months to several years. Complex civil litigation often takes years to pass from pre-suit investigation through trial/settlement.

Hoffman, Larin and Agnetti, PA has litigated thousands of cases since 1975 and is available to plaintiffs and defendants for a free consultation and evaluation. We have offices in Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties.