The term “civil litigation” refers to a wide range of legal conflicts that can involve many different parties seeking compensation or other forms of legal relief from another party in the Miami-Dade County civil court. These cases can include individuals or businesses, physical injuries or solely monetary injuries, wrongful actions or inaction, and many other circumstances. Most people think of “litigation” as being synonymous with “trial.” However, the litigation process starts long before jury selection, or any witness goes to the stand.
You have the right to pursue monetary damages for any unlawful activity through litigation. Individuals and businesses should be held liable for their actions. Depending on the type of lawsuit and the allegations made, a fair amount of investigation must occur before the case is filed. There may be negotiations with the potential defendants before a claim is filed. Lawsuits can be time-consuming, so it might take a while before you can resolve your case. When faced with these situations, you must find and hire the best litigation defense. They’ll explain what legal options are available for your particular case and pursue damages on your behalf.
What Is A Civil litigation case?
A civil litigation case happens if two or more parties are involved in a legal dispute. For a civil action to begin, the disputant must first file a complaint. The complaint includes a description of damages and how the defendant produced harm. The plaintiff can seek monetary compensations for the injury or request that the conduct stops, and other types of relief are available as ordered by the court.
The court handles the civil suit process based on non-criminal laws. Individuals and groups, and businesses can file small claims or complex litigation that involves multiple parties. Some of the commons steps in this process include:
Pleadings – when each party submits the required documents. The plaintiff will bring on a lawsuit, and the defendant will respond by submitting a reply.
Discovery – both parties gathering as much information as possible to support their arguments. The process can be very long, but it is crucial to make a solid case.
Trial – when the dispute is not resolved out of court, and the parties will move to trial and present their arguments and evidence to the judge or jury. Once the verdict is made, a party may choose to challenge it.
Appeal – A party or civil litigation attorney can appeal the decision and present a civil lawsuit to an appellate court that will review prior proceedings and form an opinion that either affirms the verdict or reverses the verdict and orders a new trial.
Civil proceedings govern under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and if they are not correctly followed, you could be forfeiting or waiving fundamental rights and advantages. It could even lead to the dismissal of your entire case, possibly without the opportunity to refile. We align our interests with the client’s interests. Legal issues are our expertise and priority.
Collections: When you provide goods or services and cannot recover the cost from a debtor promptly, you could be in serious trouble. Any enterprise’s end goal is to produce profit though unfortunately, even the most aggressive attempts on your behalf to recover a debt may lead to a dead end. Mediation and negotiation tactics aren’t always enough when pursuing a debt, and subsequently, if you owe a high amount of debt, you must understand your situation. It takes a long time for companies to decide to go after those who owe the debt. However, that does not mean that they won’t take any action against you. They can employ collection agencies and debt collection litigators, who use ruthless intimidation and harassment to pay.
When debt is owed to a creditor, a demand letter is sent for a delinquent or unpaid debt owed under a contract, such as a commercial lease or outstanding invoices. Sometimes the mere demand of monies owed generates payment by the debtor to satisfy the amounts owed. Besides, receipt of a demand letter opens a dialogue between the creditor and debtor to facilitate negotiations surrounding the outstanding amount owed.
However, often, many of these cases require more legal work, including the filing of a complaint in court to sue the non-paying party and all the other aspects of a typical complex commercial litigation dispute). Some debtors try to avoid payments by closing down one business entity and starting a new one. These tactics are often fruitless as the new entity is the mere alter ego of the former business, still responsible for its debt.
What happens during a collection investigation process?
The collection process may include garnishment of bank accounts or wages, levies upon real property or personal items, or even seeking to set aside fraudulent transfers by the debtor to a third person.
It is vital that you understand that debt collectors must act within the limits of the law. Even if they employ tough litigation teams, that does not make them above the law. If they acted illegally, such as using misleading contract language, threatening you if you do not sign documents, or violating your rights in any other way, you might be able to respond with legal action against them.
Under the Fair Debt Collections Act, you have certain protections and rights, including:
Protection against any threats, abusive language, or extreme amounts of calls.
The right to sue a debt collector if they violated your rights.
Protection from having your debt disclosed to those who have no right to know.
Protecting from being contacted at unreasonable times, such as early morning or night.
Ability to seek actual proof of debts owed to collectors.
If you are being harassed or sued for unpaid debt, the best move you can make is to hire an experienced legal advocate who knows how to handle your case.
Business Disputes: The dissolution of a business partnership or relationship must be addressed by a skilled and creative business litigation lawyer, seeking to avoid costly disputes by negotiating reasonable terms. Although the parties involved are often unwilling to negotiate initially, innovative intervention early in the process can help avoid litigation. Many federal forms will need to be filled out correctly, and all taxes will need to be paid. You may find that you will have employee issues that need to be cleared up and when this happens, having a great lawyer in your corner is essential.
Business disputes are a significant distraction from the tasks necessary to operate a business properly. If not resolved quickly, it often poses a severe threat to the longevity of an enterprise. Depending on your contract terms, our business lawyers can pursue claims for monetary damages and equitable relief, including compensatory damages, liquidated damages, specific performance, rescission, and often your attorney fees and costs.
When addressing business disputes, we will evaluate the merits of each of your claims and work with you to build a strategy for addressing these claims and achieving your goals, as well as assist with a wide variety of internal or external disputes, including:
Partnership or shareholder disputes – Disagreements between business partners or shareholders of a company may arise regarding the partners’ roles and responsibilities, the business’s regular operations, business debts, liabilities, or the short- and long-term plans for the company.
Contract disputes and breach of contract – If one party to a business contract does not meet their contractual obligations, the contract may specify the remedies available to the other party, or litigation may be necessary.
Violations of non-compete or non-disclosure agreements – These types of arrangements may be included in employment contracts or other contractual agreements, and they may place restrictions on the types of commercial activities a person or organization can participate in.
Fraud and anticompetitive practices – Legal action may be necessary when a business has been harmed by the illegal activities of a partner, officer, employee, or competitor. We can help you determine how to respond in cases involving embezzlement, violations of regulations, or illegal attempts to restrain fair trade.
Real estate litigation – We provide representation in disputes between commercial or residential landlords and tenants, as well as cases involving construction liens, governmental approval for property development, or condominium litigation.
Business tort and contract lawsuits often involve claims for breach of fiduciary duty. A fiduciary relationship can exist whenever a person acts for the benefit of or gives advice to another person within the scope of their relationship.
In Florida, a fiduciary duty can arise by statute, expressly by contract, or implied in law when a fiduciary has breached their obligations, the victim may be able to seek monetary damages and equitable relief. Moreover, punitive damages may be available in certain instances.
What is involved when litigating a business issue?
While each commercial litigation issue varies, in general, commercial litigation follows all the steps involved in a civil lawsuit-getting an attorney, filing motions, engaging in settlement negotiations, trial, and possibly appeal.
Contract Disputes: A contract is an agreement between two parties that is legally enforceable by law. In the state of Florida, this can be either a written or verbal agreement. However, oral agreements can be challenging to prove. Business contracts usually involve employment, sales, or property lease.
Writing up contracts may seem like a simple task. However, if you have something at stake that can cost your company or affect your company’s image, you will most definitely need an attorney well versed in business law to help you. This is why if there is a breach of contract, you’ll yourself in court, losing both your reputation and your business because your contract was not well written. Since not many people know and understand the legal jargon, you could be putting your company at risk by writing business contracts yourself.
Contract disputes usually involve financial obligations or monetary reimbursement to the affected party. In the event of violation in any of the terms of a contract, a lawsuit is filed to force compliance with the terms of the agreement or seek monetary reimbursement or compensation for losses.
What is a breach of contract?
A breach of contract is a failure to fulfill the duties under the contract terms. A contract can be breached in the following ways: one party does not perform as promised; one party does something that makes it impossible for the other party to perform the contract’s duties. One party makes it clear that they do not intend to perform the contract duties.
Arbitrations: As an alternative dispute resolution, arbitration parties similarly present cases as they would in court to the arbitrators chosen by the parties. Once each side has given their case, the arbitrators’ debate and rule.
Generally, the processes may be more advantageous to businesses or large organizations, though there are sometimes benefits to both. The two terms are often erroneously used interchangeably.
What is the Difference Between Mediation and Arbitration?
Mediation: when a neutral third-party hears a dispute between two or more sides and then attempts to help those parties settle issues without actually judging the merits of the case.
Meanwhile, arbitration resembles litigation in that a neutral third-party hears disputes and arguments and then imposes a final and binding decision based on the merits. This decision is enforceable by the courts. In most arbitration cases, those involved agreed to have the dispute settled in that forum before it ever arose.
Both processes are relatively quick and private and usually less formal than those carried out in a courtroom. Costs are generally lower, but so are the overall damages meted out when negligence or wrongdoing is established.
According to the American Bar Association, arbitration costs less than litigation because arbitration:
Does not permit as much discovery as litigation, which means fewer discovery disputes and motions;
Does away with virtually all pretrial motions to dismiss;
Does away with detailed pretrial orders, moving quickly to a final evidentiary hearing;
Allows evidence to be admitted less technically and more thoroughly; and
Acts as a final movement with almost no room for an appeal.
Additionally, most arbitration decisions are non-appealable unless an appeal option is included in the arbitration clause.
If arbitration is not to your advantage, there are some cases in which arbitration agreements or mediation clauses may be challenged and deemed unenforceable. It’s important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to discuss your claim.
Jury Trials: Skilled at picking juries, presenting evidence, examining and cross-examining witnesses, making opening and closing statements, and advising their clients as the trial goes on, trial lawyers are experienced in handling cases in all aspects of the courtroom. Trial lawyers regularly represent clients in the courtroom for civil or criminal matters.
Everything a trial attorney does in the lower court, should be done with an eye toward a potential appeal—either by his/her client or the opponent.
Before the trial we’ll research and analyze key issues of law, prepare complaints, brief and argue dispositive motions, create proposed jury instructions, develop strong legal analysis, prepare motions for summary judgment and motions to dismiss or strong responses to such motions. Effective research and preparation in the pretrial or trial phases can often mean the difference between ultimate success in the case and success or failure on appeal, if the case goes to appeal. You should always assume that it may go to appeal.
During the trial, we will focus on capturing the necessary legal issues and preserving objections in the trial record so that the trial lawyer can better focus on the flow of the trial. We will frame the salient legal issues appropriately, in preparation for a possible appeal. Preservation of a trial record for potential appeal is extremely important.
Appeals: In an appeal, a higher court reviews the decision of a lower court, generally the trial court or an administrative agency. Appeals may happen in a civil or criminal case after trial, or after the dismissal of a case, for example, a motion for summary judgment that the court granted. Attorneys representing clients on appeal must carefully review the entire record, including trial transcripts, evidentiary materials, and motions, to determine which grounds, if any, exist as a basis for the appeal.
Here is how the appeals process works generally but remember that specific rules will vary based on the type of appeal and court type.
Notice of Appeal – A party may initiate an appeal after the trial court has issued a final order or judgment. The first step is filing a Notice of Appeal with the clerk of the trial court. The law imposes strict time limits; the filing party typically has only 30 days after the final judgment has been issued to initiate the appeal. Also, keep in mind that requests are generally limited to last orders or judgments.
Preparation of the Record – The trial record includes transcripts of the trial or court hearings, documents filed with the court, and any orders or judgments handed down by the court. While the trial court clerk prepares the record, it is the appellant’s responsibility to make sure the form includes the relevant documents and transcripts. Again, the law imposes strict time limits. In most cases, Florida law gives the appellant ten days after filing the Notice of Appeal to provide directions to the clerk. Federal law typically provides the appellant with 14 days to inform the clerk about transcripts.
Docketing Statements – Depending on the case and the appellate court, the appellant might have to file a statement identifying the parties, attorneys, and issues to be reviewed.
The Briefs – The parties’ briefs set forth the facts and their legal arguments for why the trial court decision should be reversed or affirmed. There are three briefs: the initial brief, the answer brief, and the reply brief. The appellant submits the initial brief, which is then answered by the appellee in the answer brief. The appellant then has an opportunity to rebut the appellee’s arguments in a reply brief.
Oral Arguments – Not every case requires the parties to appear in person to argue with a panel of judges. However, the parties may sometimes ask the court to allow oral arguments, or the appeals court might require it.
The Decision – The court will issue a written decision, either reversing or affirming the trial court’s order or judgment.
At that point, the losing party might still have some options. It might be possible to petition for a rehearing. The losing party might also be able to demand a higher appellate court for review. Both the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have discretionary jurisdiction in some instances, which means they do not have to consider every case.