Should I File a Lawsuit?

By Lindsey Revels Fernald
Attorney at Law

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This is a very common question from clients and potential clients. As you may expect, the answer is: it depends. There are many factors to be considered when contemplating litigation. These factors include:

Is there a justiciable claim?

Of course, a court cannot resolve every type of claim or complaint. Claims must be justiciable, in that a court has the authority to adjudicate the claim. Generally, claims arising out of a contract or agreement between parties are justiciable claims.

Do you have the evidence (e.g., documents, information and testimony) we need to prove our claims? (or can we obtain this with a reasonable inquiry?)

Depending on the claims and issues, certain documents and information may be critical in order to meet a burden of proof.

Is the cost of litigation worth the potential result?

This is an important factor to consider and requires a cost versus benefit analysis. If the cost to file a lawsuit and obtain a favorable judgment (including court costs and estimated attorney’s fees) meets or exceeds the damages claimed, then a lawsuit may not be the best course of action.

Is the time involved in litigation worth the potential result?

As the saying goes, “the wheels of justice turn slowly. . .” and judgments cannot be obtained overnight. Lawsuits must be drafted, filed, and served on the defendant(s). Further, the defendant(s) are afforded at least 30 days to respond to a complaint once served. The process for obtaining a judgment can take 60+ days and the process to begin attempts to collect on a judgment can begin 30+ days thereafter. If a quick result or payment is the goal, a lawsuit may not be the best option.

If you are considering filing a lawsuit, if you have been served with a lawsuit, or if you have questions about this article, please contact us. We would be more than happy to discuss your options with you.

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