Previously on this blog we gave a brief overview of the discovery process. This includes obtaining witness and exhibit lists as well as conducting depositions and issues requests for production. The information gathered in this process can help an individual gauge the strength of his or her case and develop a legal strategy that works for him or her. However, to draft a compelling legal argument, an individual has to know how to spin the facts in light of the law to support his or her side of the story. Yet, there is another discovery tool that can streamline the process and make litigation a little easier: the request for admissions.
There are many trial rules and rules of evidence that must be adhered to in order to successfully litigate a case. Those who fail to abide by these rules can see their evidence given less weight, their evidence excluded or even their claims dismissed.
Litigation is often seen as presenting eloquent legal arguments to a judge and jury and utilizing skilled questioning to elicit wanted information from witnesses. While this does make up a significant portion of litigation, it is just the culmination of thorough preparation. Without this preparation, one's presentation in the courtroom is sure to be less than stellar.
Although the ultimate decisions that are made by judges and juries are based on facts, those facts are open to interpretation. Lay witnesses, meaning those who possess no additional knowledge than the average person, can testify to their personal knowledge and observations, but their testimony regarding their opinion is limited in scope. This is why it is often helpful to have expert testimony when dealing with complex issues. The testimony of these individuals can carry great weight and make the difference between winning and losing a case.
Losing a case is never easy, especially when significant financial and emotional resources are on the line. Those who lose at trial often feel like the extensive amount of time they put into the case was for naught, which leaves them angry and frustrated. Yet, losing a case at the trail court level is not the end of the road. This is because those who lose a lawsuit have a legal right to appeal the decision made by the trial court or a jury at the trial court level. However, it is important to note that an appeal is not another bite at the apple. Instead, an appeal allows a party to have the trial reevaluated to ensure that a fair outcome is reached.
If you've taken a matter to trial and lost, then you no doubt feel defeated. There's nothing that can deflate you faster than being told by a court or a jury that your arguments didn't hold enough weight to sway its opinion. This can be especially true when you felt that your legal position was persuasive enough to justify a ruling in your favor. Fortunately, Ohioans who find themselves in this position have the right to appeal a court's decision. To do so properly, though, certain steps must be taken and specific guidelines followed.
Aggressive and effective litigation requires thorough preparation. It is in this preparation process that an Ohioans can anticipate objections and build the legal arguments necessary to fully support his or her claim. We previously discussed the importance of the discovery process, but this process has many parts to it, each of which carries significant importance.
When Ohioans think of litigation they often think of aggressive attorneys going toe-to-toe with legal arguments in front of a judge and jury. It's always flashy and glorified. The reality is that, while this aggressive litigation does occur from time-to-time, a lot of the litigation legwork occurs well before trial and, many times, outside of the courtroom. Discovery and trial prep are keys to litigation success, but so, too, can jury selection.
The vast majority of cases, whether dealing with family law, business law or some other type of civil complaint, resolve through some sort of settlement negotiation. This can occur on the parties' own terms, or it could occur through alternative dispute resolution means like mediation or arbitration. Despite the success of these methods, they are not successful in all cases. When negotiations fail and a case looks like it's going to trial, individuals need to make sure that they are ready to litigate as fully and aggressively as possible in order to protect their best interests.
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.