General Litigation NC
If you need representation in a civil case, please contact us immediately.
What is general litigation?
General litigation is a term used to describe legal proceedings following a lawsuit between two parties. This process is used to enforce or defend a legal right through a court-supervised process. Many different types of civil cases can be handled with general litigation.
What is a civil summons, and how do I respond?
A civil summons is a notification once a lawsuit has been filed. If you’ve been served with a civil summons (and complaint) you have thirty (30) days from the date you were served to respond to the complaint. Failure to respond can mean that the plaintiff can seek a default judgment against you.
Default judgments are nearly impossible to escape, so don’t let that happen. After you have been served, you can ask for an extension of time in which to respond to the complaint and it is likely that any attorney you retain will do the same.
Alternatively, if you’ve been wronged in some way and looking at recourse through the court system, you need to be mindful of the statute of limitations for the type of action you want to initiate. For example, personal injury claims in North Carolina must be filed within three (3) years of the injury, professional malpractice as a two (2) year statute of limitations, and breach of contract is also three (3) years.
Here is a Helpful Article outlining the statute of limitations to the most common causes of action.
The bottom line is that if you’re a defendant or considering starting a lawsuit, acting slowly could be detrimental to your case. Being proactive is key! If you’re thinking that you’re going to have to sue someone, get your ducks in a row. Gather all relevant documents (contracts, emails, etc.). Make sure you save all text messages, emails, and any other correspondences. Also, in North Carolina it is legal to record conversations with people so long as one party to the conversation is aware of the recording. This is known as the “one party consent” law. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-287 Be mindful that you may be required to turn over such records through discovery requests so don’t say anything rude or worse.
Generally speaking, once a lawsuit is initiated, the opposing party has an opportunity to respond or answer the complaint, but they can also file motions to dismiss and/or file a counterclaim. What follows a complaint is also a period of “discovery” in which the parties serve written discovery requests like interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for production of documents. Discovery could also include depositions of you, the opposing party, and/or other key witnesses. Basically, each side gets an opportunity to gather as much evidence to satisfy their burden of evidence prior to trial. Before any trial, most jurisdictions make mediation mandatory. Mediation is great because it is the last time you have any control about the outcome of the case, but no one leaves mediation happy. Let me say it louder for the folks in the back, NO ONE LEAVES MEDIATION HAPPY. If a case settles through mediation it is because all parties gave up something they wanted. If you opt to pursue a trial the outcome of your case will be up the judge/jury to decide your fate.