When business owners in Ohio find themselves involved in business litigation – whether they initiated it or not – they can oftentimes find themselves wondering how the case will turn out. Facts, evidence, persuasive arguments – business owners will likely see it all throughout the case. But, understanding the basic path of business litigation can give them a better picture of where the case is going and, ultimately, how it might end.
At the beginning of these types of cases, “pleadings” are filed that typically provide a broad overview of what the dispute is and what the “plaintiff” is seeking. From there, the “defendant” will usually respond, providing details of proposed defenses to the claims in the case. After the initial pleadings and proceedings, the parties will then usually move to the “discovery” phase of the case. In this phase, the parties will send written questions and requests for documents to each other and, in many cases, ask potential witnesses to sit for “depositions.” A deposition is when the witness is asked questions, under oath, similar to what would occur in a courtroom. But, the difference is that depositions usually occur in a conference room or other less-intense location. The purpose is to determine what testimony, if any, might be useful from the witness in question.
Ultimately, the case will move toward trial. But, before trial the parties may engage in alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration or mediation. These techniques are a chance to attempt to reach a settlement in the case before trial. But, in some cases, trial simply cannot be avoided.
The final step: trial
A trial is a big commitment. Both sides will likely spend weeks – or even longer – preparing for the effort. Each side will make their arguments, present their evidence and attempt to persuade the fact-finder – a judge or jury – that their version of the case is the right one. In the end, a verdict will be rendered, which decides the case.