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Litigation and appeals: the importance of objections

Although many legal disputes in Ohio end with settlement prior to going to trial, some cases will ultimately require litigation. This is often the case when the parties are confrontational toward each other, as well as when the stakes are high for each side. Preparation prior to litigation is key to building a strong case. However, even after discovery is conducted, witnesses are subpoenaed and testimony is prepared, the actual act of litigating requires skill. How one party litigates can have a tremendous impact on the outcome, even if the initial trial is lost.

This is why it is important to appropriately and timely make and respond to objections. One reason this is important is because it can either limit the scope of the opponent's evidence, or it can expand your ability to get testimony and documents admitted into evidence. For example, hearsay, although generally not allowed, will be heard by a judge and jury unless it is objected to. Therefore, when one side successfully raises a hearsay objection, it disallows the other side from getting that testimony into evidence. On the flip side, successfully rebutting a hearsay objection will allow that evidence to be admitted.

Another critical reason for proper objections and aggressive responses is that they preserve the record for appeal. This means that, if a timely objection is raised, even if the trial judge rules against the objecting party, that party can raise that objectionable issue on appeal. If no appeal is made at the trial level, then the matter is considered waived, meaning that the court of appeals cannot consider that particular issue. Therefore, making correct objections when appropriate can set a case up for a strong appeal.

There are many moving parts to a lawsuit. Those who are unfamiliar with this area can quickly find themselves overwhelmed, which oftentimes leads to mistakes. Fortunately, those facing legal disputes can take the steps necessary to ensure that their cases are as strong as the evidence allows.

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