A good civil litigation lawyer knows the value of zealous advocacy. There is a particular skillset associated with that advocacy. Attorneys are trained to create arguments that fit with the facts of the case and/or relevant case law. Knowing the process behind a litigated matter is important, too. For example, properly effecting service on a defendant in a lawsuit is the first step in the process.
The Beginning Stage of Civil Litigation
Civil litigation lawyers know that service has to be completed on the proper agent, in the proper amount of time. In Rhode Island, there is a particular rule for civil litigators to follow to serve and accept service of a complaint.
If you have ever watched a crime drama on TV, you’ve likely watched a scene where a sheriff or constable dramatically flings a complaint and yells out “you’ve been served!” This is not what the rules require. It would be pretty fun if that were the case.
A complaint is, generally, the first pleading filed in a civil matter. The complaint is filed by the Plaintiff and sets out the facts of the matter. The complaint also contains the laws under which the Plaintiff is entitled to recover some type of award or damages. Once a complaint is filed, the Defendant has to file an answer. The answer either admits or denies the facts in the complaint and sets out any legal arguments the defense has.
The rules of procedure for a civil litigation lawyer are the same, regardless of who he or she represents. What I mean by this is that the attorney follows the same process whether he is working for the Plaintiff or the Defendant. In the context of whether the client is a corporation, individual, or government agency, the rules of service are different. Corporate entities in Rhode Island have to maintain a registered agent for service in the state. Individuals do not.
Settlement as an Option
The majority of civil cases never make it to trial. That is because settlement of the claims often occurs prior to the trial. In fact, I have had many civil matters settle on the eve of or the morning of the trial.
The client is always the decision maker in terms of settlement. When one side makes an offer of settlement, the civil litigation lawyer is compelled to pass on the terms to the client. Settlements come in all forms. Depending on the judge and the subject matter, the terms of the settlement might be spoken into the record. Otherwise, the parties negotiate the terms of a written settlement agreement or order. The parties both sign the settlement document and the matter is considered closed, unless a party violates the document’s terms.
If you are looking for a civil litigation lawyer, be sure that they are familiar with the applicable rules in the subject state. Every state has its own set of rules.
Desautel Law’s civil litigation lawyers have decades of experience in the courtroom. For more information about how we can help you, call us today at 401.477.0023.