The attorneys and staff at Bret Jones, P.A. bring over 50 years of litigation experience to your case. Our attorneys are licensed in Florida State, New York State, and Federal Courts. As a rule, every attorney in our office must have litigation experience through trial (even if they fancy themselves as a “transactional” attorney).
By requiring trial experience from each of our lawyers, we know that our clients are better served: both in the courtroom and out; understanding the risks and costs of litigation allows our attorneys to not only represent clients should they find themselves in a lawsuit, but also helps us counsel our clients before litigation in ways that will, hopefully, avoid a lawsuit entirely. Although we believe that lawsuits are better avoided than pursued, we do find from time to time that either prosecuting or defending litigation actions is necessary and/or appropriate.
Understanding the Importance of a Florida Litigation Lawyer
A Florida litigation lawyer is a lawyer who practices litigation, or follows the rules and practices involved in resolving disputes in the court system. Litigation is the part of the law that most of us think of when we think of the legal field. It is what is most often shown on TV and in the media, but litigation is only part of the law. Litigation law can be contrasted with another large part of the law, transactional law.
To put is simply, transactional law brings people together through contracts and agreements, while litigation attorneys step in when a dispute erupts and people are in disagreement. When people think of litigation they usually think of a courtroom. Many people think that what happens in the courtroom is litigation which is not correct at all. This isn’t their fault though; TV and the media are to blame for the misunderstanding.
The Stages of the Litigation Process
In reality, very few litigation cases ever make it to an actual courtroom. The courtroom is the last and final stage of many stages in litigation, and more often than not the dispute being litigated is resolved before the courtroom stage.
The Demand Letter
First and foremost, for there to be litigation, there must be a dispute. If those that are involved in the dispute cannot resolve it on their own, then at least one of the parties should find a litigation attorney. The attorney will investigate the case, and then send out a “demand letter” to the opposing party. This letter draws out what the party receiving the letter must do (pay a certain amount of money, start doing or stop doing a certain activity, etc.) in order to avoid any future legal action.
These letters are negotiable, and the party who receives it can respond by saying that will pay less than demanded or agree to do what was demanded a bit differently. The receiving party can also respond with demands of their own, or they can simply do nothing at all. There is no law the requires a party that receives a demand letter to do anything, but most people opt to respond in order to avoid the matter from going any further which could cost them their reputation, time, and money.
Filing a Lawsuit
When a dispute is not resolved by the back and forth of demand letters, either party can file for a formal lawsuit. When one of the parties files for a lawsuit, they must be careful of the many tedious rules that come with this action. The party being sued should have this same attention to detail, because there are just as many rules when it comes to responding to a lawsuit. If either party hasn’t hired a Florida litigation lawyer at this point, now would be the time to do so in order to ensure these rules are being followed. If the smallest of the rules is broken, or the smallest of mistakes is made, it can completely undermine an entire case. The help of an attorney can ensure this does not happen.
After a lawsuit is filed, the discovery stage is up next. During discovery the parties are required to exchange documents and other information. The stage of discovery is what makes litigation cost so much money. To comb through the documents shared by the other party, and respond to their requests is hard and tedious work. This hard and tedious work can take some time, and as we all know, time means money. It is also during discovery that each side of the lawsuit will interview and retain their witnesses.
At the end of the discovery period, the parties review what they have learned. The defendant, or the one being sued, will most likely file a motion for summary judgment at this point. What this means is that the defendant will go the judge and argue that what they are being sued for is not illegal and therefore they cannot be held responsible for it. If the judge agrees, the plaintiff loses and the case is closed. If the judge disagrees then the case goes to trial.
If a case has survived all of these stages then the case will be heard by a judge or a jury. The proceedings that we are all too familiar with will unfold, and eventually the case will be decided. The time it takes for a case to survive all of these stages and make it to the courtroom can take years, especially with civil cases. Civil cases do not have the right to a speedy trial like criminal cases do, so if you plan to sue over a civil matter be prepared to spend a lot of time and money in order to get it resolved.
Lawsuits Against Business Owners
If you are a business owner and you are being sued, have no fear! The first thing you should do is to find a qualified business litigation attorney. With the help of a Florida litigation lawyer that focuses on business cases, you will ensure that you are not making any mistakes with it comes to responding to the lawsuit. They will conduct discovery, and most likely take most of the stress off of your hands. The potential of losing your case may still be looming over your head, but if you hire the right lawyer, it should end in your favor.
There are many things that a business can be sued for, and when starting a business you should be aware that you will not be able to please everyone. No matter the size of your business, there will be someone that you anger enough for them to find and hire an attorney. With your own business litigation lawyer, you should be well equipped to deal with these people. When starting your business, talk with your attorney about all of the different things you could potentially be sued over such as disgruntled ex-employees or an extremely dissatisfied customer. Often times the attorney you use to help start your business will also be willing and able to help if you are ever sued.
Not only can businesses and business owners be sued, but they can file lawsuits against others. When a company decides that they want to file a lawsuit they will most likely go back to an attorney they trust to handle the matter. Florida litigation lawyers that focus on business cases are often times very knowledgeable about all things business. Some business litigation attorneys even have their MBA (Masters of Business Administration) degree which means they not only understand how the law works, but they have a very good understanding of how business works.
As is expected large corporations often handle matters with the law a bit differently than small businesses do. Most large corporations don’t just contact their lawyer when they have a legal issue or question to ask, most have lawyers hired on with a salary to handle such matters. A company with a corporate litigation lawyer is usually in very good hands because the attorney’s entire focus is on the company. They don’t work for a firm that has numerous other clients, their job day in and day out is to handle the legal issues and questions the company may have.
Litigation for Real Estate Developers
Disputes can arise anywhere! Real estate may seem like an odd place to find disputes that erupt to the level of litigation, but it is actually quite a regular occurrence. Here in Central Florida with homes and businesses being built constantly, real estate litigation has been on the rise. A real estate litigation attorney will regularly deal with disputes that involve one of the parties breaking a contract.
If the party that broke the contract is unwilling to do what is asked to right their wrong after receiving a demand letter, then a lawsuit will be filed and litigation is underway. Many, but not all, Florida litigation lawyers do a lot of work in real estate being that there is so much real estate in Florida. If you are in need of a litigation attorney for a real estate matter, make sure to do your research to find the right attorney for your needs.
Locating a Quality Florida Litigation Lawyer
Whether you are in need of a business litigation lawyer, a litigation attorney that focuses on real estate or one that can help with a civil matter you will have no trouble finding one that can help in Florida. Many attorneys enjoy litigation over transactional work and are more than willing to take a litigation case, but before you hire an attorney you should make sure you are hiring the right one. The law office of Bret Jones, P.A. Attorneys and Counselors in Clermont Florida is the home of a fantastic team of litigation attorneys. At Bret Jones, P.A. you will find Florida litigation lawyers that can help with any litigation need you may have, from business litigation to criminal.