Steps in a Lawsuit

Do you know the steps in a typical lawsuit? If not, check out this outline.

  • Complaint. The plaintiff (the person starting the lawsuit) files a Complaint with the Court Clerk stating what the case is about and the damages or other relief being sought. The Court Clerk then issues a Summons, which is served on the defendant along with the Complaint.
  • Answer. The defendant files a written Answer responding to each allegation in the Complaint. The defendant my also file a Counter-Claim against the plaintiff.
  • Pre-Trial Discovery. Each side learns the details of the other side’s case through oral questioning (depositions), written questions (interrogatories), and requests for documents.
  • Pre-Trial Motions. Sometimes a party will seek to have the judge decide without a trial (motion for summary disposition).
  • Settlement Techniques. The judge may order the parties to attempt to settle the case using an impartial mediator, or may refer them to a case evaluation panel that places a value on the case.
  • Trial. As many as 98% of cases get resolved before reaching the trial stage. For those that don’t get resolved, a judge or jury hears testimony from each side, and issues a verdict.

The attorneys at the Ann Arbor firm of Hamilton, London, & Davis can explain how these steps apply to your own lawsuit.

Categories: Civil Litigation