In an earlier post, we discussed the initial pleadings and discovery stages of a lawsuit. This post will address the pre-trial and trial stages.
Most first-time litigants are unfamiliar with the process by which a lawsuit moves from filing to resolution. While every lawsuit is unique and different courts have different rules governing litigation procedure, most lawsuits in most courts follow a similar path from initial complaint to final judgment. Understanding the different stages of a lawsuit can help prepare first-time litigants for the unfamiliar process ahead.
In an important development, the American Arbitration Association has revised its Commercial Arbitration Rules to include a host of changes that seek to streamline arbitration and make the process more cost-effective and tightly managed. The rules, which can be found here, are amended and effective as of October 1, 2013. As a result, practitioners filing new arbitration claims that will be governed by the Commercial Arbitration Rules will need to familiarize themselves with the revisions, as they provide significant changes in the process. Litigators should also note that parties to ICDR proceedings may choose to use these rules instead of the ICDR International Arbitration Rules.
Prosecuting or defending a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment can be a substantial undertaking. In a complex case a motion for summary judgment can consume a hundred hours or more of attorney time and tens of thousands of client dollars. At the same time, reviewing all of the submitted material and producing a reasoned opinion consume significant amounts of court resources, resources which are already stretched thin due to budgetary constraints. Too often attorneys and litigants file motions to dismiss or for summary judgment as a matter of course, even when those filings will, at best, remove only a portion of the claims from a case, while achieving little or no reduction in further litigation cost or trial time.