When a dispute cannot be resolved voluntarily, litigation may help to preserve your interests and protect your rights. Sometimes starting a lawsuit is all that is required to get a party’s attention and bring about a resolution. Other times, a mediator or judge is needed to resolve the matter. Our attorneys can pursue resolutions to specific issues or a whole dispute through motions or, when needed, take a matter to trial.
A Summons and Complaint must be drafted and served upon the party who is being sued. The case officially begins when the Summons is served. The Summons tells the other party that they are being sued and that they must respond to the lawsuit if they want to protect their rights. The Complaint spells out what your dispute is about, including the facts of the case, the way in which the defendant harmed you, and what relief you want from the court. In Minnesota, parties have up to one year after service of the Summons and Complaint to file the case with the Court.
At Zlimen & McGuiness, our attorneys never lose sight of the big picture for our clients. That means we constantly re-evaluate the costs and benefits of litigation versus settlement or negotiation and communicate that analysis to our clients. We want our clients to be informed and making the best decisions for their needs as a lawsuit progresses. There is never a point where we don’t want a client to think about the cost or benefit of negotiating a resolution.
Whether or not the case has been filed, an Answer is due from the defendant twenty days after the Summons was served. Answers respond to the allegations in the Complaint, and often include counterclaims against the plaintiff.
After the Answer is provided, the discovery process begins. During discovery, all parties to a lawsuit exchange information that is relevant to the case. Discovery requests can take many forms, typically Requests for Production of Documents, Request for Admissions, and Interrogatories. Depositions can be taken, expert witnesses hired, and reports filed. Discovery can be a short and simple process, or a long and complex one depending on the issues in the case and the level of cooperation between the parties.
If a matter is not resolved through negotiation during the discovery process , many matters enter mediation. Mediation is a process in which a third party attempts to assist negotiations between the parties to reach a voluntary resolution.
If the matter remains unresolved after mediation, trial may be necessary to obtain a resolution from the Court.