A civil lawsuit is different than a criminal case. A civil lawsuit is a legal action not based on criminal law.
If you are sued, you should confer with an attorney to be advised as to your rights and so that your attorney can make recommendations in regard to action that can be taken on your behalf to protect your interests.
In a civil lawsuit, the person or entity filing the lawsuit is usually referred to as the Plaintiff and the person or entity being sued is usually referred to as the Defendant.
After a Complaint has been filed, a process server serves the Defendant.
The Defendant must file a responsive pleading in Court, within the time set forth in the summons which accompanies the Complaint. If not, a default judgment can be rendered against the Defendant.
Therefore, the Defendant should hire an attorney as soon as the Defendant is served with process. In too many cases, we have had Defendants seek our services long after they have been served and after they have failed to respond within the timeframe provided in the summons and they may therefore be subject to a default judgment.
After a Complaint has been filed, and a responsive pleading, such as an Answer, has been filed by the Defendant, the parties can request from each other information about the lawsuit.
The parties can serve Interrogatories on each other. Interrogatories are written questions that may be sent to the other side asking for information about the case. Interrogatories must be answered under oath or objected to, with possible Court proceedings to follow.
The parties can also ask each other for documents and physical records. These requests for production must be responded to and the documents produced, unless objected to.
The parties can ask each other for Requests for Admissions. These are written statements which may be sent to the other party which must be admitted or denied or objected to.
The parties can also take depositions. This is where a person answers questions from the other parties’ lawyer under oath and before a Court Reporter. Depositions may be videotaped. They can also be used in Court as evidence just as if the person were on the witness stand answering questions.
With frivolous lawsuits, there are remedies which are available, including fines or other sanctions. However, it is difficult to obtain that relief, and you still have to file pleadings and have a hearing in order to seek relief from the Court.
In other words, it is not enough to just take the position that any lawsuit against you is frivolous and has no merit. This is a matter which is to be litigated before the Court. It is not recommended that you attempt to represent yourself. In most situations, it is difficult for a person to represent himself or herself in a lawsuit. Parties appearing pro se, or without an attorney, are required to follow the rules and procedures even if they have no knowledge, expertise or experience in the law.
Before filing a civil lawsuit, a threshold question is whether or not the Plaintiff has a valid claim.
If there is a valid claim, then there is an issue as to whether or not the Plaintiff has standing to file a lawsuit.
If a person has a valid claim, and has standing, then a civil lawsuit may be filed so long as same is not barred by any applicable statute of limitations or for other reasons.
Blake Law Group, P.C. has received an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the most trusted and respected service for rating attorneys in the United States. The “AV” rating is the highest possible rating for legal abilities and reputation by other lawyers.
We often receive referrals from other attorneys who may not practice, at least to the extent we do, in regard to certain areas of the law, including complex civil matters. As a result, this has increased our volume of cases and expertise in this area of the law.
We have been involved in civil lawsuits in St. Clair County, Illinois, Madison County, Illinois, Monroe County, Illinois, Washington County, Illinois, Clinton County, Illinois and Bond County, Illinois, as well as Mount Vernon, Illinois, Carbondale, Illinois, Alton, Illinois, Edwardsville, Illinois, Belleville, Illinois and other counties and cities. Civil lawsuits in Edwardsville, Illinois are handled through the Third (3rd) Judicial Circuit Court and civil lawsuits in St. Clair County, Illinois are handled through the Twentieth (20th) Judicial Circuit Court.