California Lawsuit Case Study

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Chances are you have known someone who was involved in a lawsuit. They aren’t the rarity that they once were. Yet somehow the actual process is still a mystery to many who haven’t yet found themselves in the situation. If you wish to be as prepared as possible, understanding the basic structure of anatomy of the lawsuit can be very beneficial.

The anatomy of the lawsuit can be broken down into four basic sections or stages: pleading, discovery, trial and appeal.

The pleading stage of a California lawsuit begins when a plaintiff files a complaint with the California Superior Court. This is a statement that lists allegations. If allegations included in the complaint are proved, the Plaintiff is entitled to a judgment. The Superior Court in
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Failure to do so will result in the opportunity for the plaintiff to file a request for entry of default with the court. The “response” from the defendant can be an answer to allegations made, a demurrer or a motion. If the defendant responds with an answer to allegations made they will often include new allegations of their own against the plaintiff that could provide foundation for an affirmative defense to claims made against them in the original complaint. A demurrer challenges the legality of the complaint filed by the plaintiff raising issues of law instead of disputing the facts of the case. A motion could be filed to challenge the service of the complaint, whether or not it was filed in the correct jurisdiction, etc. When the response is filed, the defendant can also file a cross-complaint or additional complaints against a third party that includes any related claims.

During the discovery stage of a lawsuit, parties exercise the right to obtain evidence that may be held by the other parties involved. Evidence is obtained through written discovery and depositions. Requests for information, interrogatories, requests for admissions, demands for inspection, etc. are all completed during the discovery stage. If a party involved fails to provide appropriate and timely responses during discovery they can be sanctioned by the court. A sanction can be anything
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The parties could go through mediation in order to attempt to reach a resolution out of court and avoid litigation.
2. If a settlement is reached through mediation, the agreement will typically be put in writing.
3. If demands in the complaint are for less than $50,000, and the parties involved do not choose mediation, they matter will most likely be sent for non-binding judicial arbitration. An arbitrator is selected. The actual arbitration usually only takes one day. Once the arbitrator renders an award, the dissatisfied party has the option to request that the matter be presented before a judge or jury.
4. Various motions may be filed prior to trial. Motions are argued before a judge who then issues a ruling and orders. Motions usually focus on discovery, pleadings or termination of the case.
5. Most courts attempt to have the matter tried within one year of the date of the original complaint filing, but the actual timing depends on how congested the court’s trial departments are and how complex the issues are being disputed.
6. A trial date is set and pre-trial deadlines are scheduled (i.e. discovery completed thirty days prior to the trial date, posting of jury fees, service of subpoenas on non-parties,

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