What is Litigation? “Litigation is a generic term used to refer to cases brought in court, for any purpose, with the process of the case beginning and ending. Everything in between is litigation.”
Respected Idaho trial attorney John Janis explains what the term litigation means and discusses the process of litigation in our latest podcast.
What is Litigation as Far as the Process in a Personal Injury Case?
The process of litigation includes a multitude of events. The first event is the filing of a complaint against the person or entity that caused the injury. The complaint starts the lawsuit. That person, the defendant, then has to be served with the complaint. That means they are given a copy by a process server and have 30 days to file an answer.
Once the answer is filed by the lawyer for the defendant, the case is considered “at issue.” Idaho courts in personal injury lawsuits instruct you to hold a status conference within 90 days for the purpose of setting a trial date. Once the trial date is chosen, the court will impose some pre-trial deadlines that everyone needs to comply with. But, the trial date is what everyone is gearing up for. The process of preparing for trial is called the discovery phase of a case. We as Boise Idaho Personal Injury Trial Lawyers spend a lot of time preparing for a trial.
What Are Arbitration and Mediation and Is There A Difference Between The Two?
Yes, there’s a definite difference between the two. Both are known as alternative dispute resolution processes or ADR. That means it’s being litigated outside the courtroom. So the earlier question what is litigation in Idaho includes outside of court processes too. Arbitration is having the dispute decided by someone other than a jury. It can be a private lawyer, a retired judge or a panel of lawyers or judges. The decision in arbitration is binding. It’s like a mini-trial where the rules of evidence are somewhat relaxed and the timeframes are shorter than they would be in a lawsuit that heads to a jury trial.
Mediation, on the other hand, is a formal effort at trying to settle a case. A mediation involves someone being hired to serve as a mediator. On the date of the mediation, all parties come to the same place and are in separate rooms. The mediator goes between rooms trying try to reach a settlement. It’s not binding and is an effort at settling. It’s confidential so nobody can use what happened at the mediation for any purposes connected with the case. If the mediation succeeds at settling, then the case is over. If it doesn’t, the litigation keeps going forward.
Arbitration is binding, mediation is not.
What Is Discovery in Litigation?
It’s each side’s opportunity to engage in ways to discover what the other side’s case is about. To see what’s coming at the trial. There are various forms of discovery. We have written discovery where lawyers send written questions or requests for producing documents. The other side has timeframes and rules they need to follow for responding
Another method of discovery are depositions, which is taking live testimony from a witness outside of the courtroom. Court reporters prepare a transcript of all the questions and answers at the deposition.
How Long Does A Case in Litigation Take?
It varies from county-to-county and turns on a lot of individual facts associated with the case. The biggest one is, how long is it going to take to go through a trial? The judge will have an open window for a three-day jury trial a lot sooner than a three-week trial. However, rule of thumb, litigation of a civil case in Idaho will generally take somewhere between 12 and 18 months.
Are There Jury Trials in Idaho Litigation ?
John: Of course. In America, it’s one of the touchstones of our legal system. It’s a jury of your peers that decides lawsuit disputes. In Idaho civil disputes, we have a rule that a jury of 12 is appointed and a three-quarter majority verdict is enough to give you a binding verdict. By-the-way, in a criminal trail there’s a constitutional right for defendants to have a speedy jury trial.
Can You Appeal A Jury Decision?
Yes. Idaho has several levels of appeal. The two most notable are the Idaho Court of Appeals which is a three-person panel, and the Idaho Supreme Court, which is a five-person panel. The question of when a case can be appealed is very complex and need to be analyzed by seasoned Serious Injury Attorneys Boise Idaho to see if there’s a reasonable chance of prevailing. Is it raising a new question of law? Like, did something happen in the district court proceedings that was a legal error of some sort or did the jury screw something up? So, cases can be appealed but it’s not cheap and it’s a lengthy process.
Call Attorney John Janis or any of his colleagues for a free case evaluation and review at (208) 328-6998
Serious Injury Attorneys Boise Idaho, Personal Injury Trial Lawyers Idaho