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Civil Litigation

If you are being sued or if you need to sue someone, Ron Greve and Doug Dinning both have reputations as aggressive litigators.

Civil litigation is not at all like what you see on TV. Courtroom surprises and dramatic admissions by the other side's star witness do not happen in the real world.

More than 90% of all cases are settled before Trial. Modern discovery rules force disclosure of all significant evidence well before Trial. The key to a successful settlement is using the discovery rules to emphasize the strengths of your case and the weakness of your opponent's case.

Generally, the side that is the most prepared achieves the best results. Ron and Doug know how to work a case to get the evidence that will produce a good settlement. If the case does go to Trial, the preparation will give you a better prospect of winning.

The normal civil case begins with the filing of a Summons and Complaint with the court and paying the filing fees. The Complaint is an outline summary of the facts of the dispute and the relief you are asking for. You are known as the Plaintiff.

The Summons and Complaint must be served on the party you are suing (the Defendant). There are a number of ways of getting service, but the most common is by having a professional Process Server personally deliver the papers.

The Defendant has a period of time, usually 21 days, to file a written Answer to the Complaint.

If an Answer is not filed, the Plaintiff can get a Judgment by Default against the Defendant for all the relief asked for in the Complaint.

If the Defendant does file an Answer, the case goes into a period of Discovery which can last from several months to several years depending on the complexity of the case. During Discovery, either party can examine witnesses, including the other party, under oath in front of a Court Reporter. These Depositions can be transcribed and used as evidence at trial. The parties are also able to subpoena any relevant records or documents, no matter who has custody of the documents.

At the close of Discovery, the court will schedule Case Evaluation. A panel of three attorneys will listen to oral and written summaries from both sides and will make a settlement recommendation. A party that rejects the recommendation must do better at trial or will be required to pay the attorney fees of the other party.

Many judges will also use Mediation, where a neutral attorney meets with the parties and tries to negotiate a settlement.

If all else fails, the case is scheduled for Trial. In most cases, either party can ask for a Jury Trial. Many cases are tried by a Judge without a Jury.

A Trial is concluded with a Judgment which either dismisses the case or which requires the Defendant to pay money to the Plaintiff. There are other types of remedies available in some cases.

Either party has the right to Appeal an unfavorable Judgment to a higher court. Most appeals must be filed within 21 days. The higher court reviews the record and written Briefs of the parties and decides if the lower court made a mistake that would justify reversing the Judgment.

Once you have a Judgment, you can use Court procedures to garnish the paycheck of the Defendant, seize bank accounts, cars, boats, real estate and anything else of value owned by the Defendant. A Judgment is valid for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10 years. Unpaid Judgments also earn interest at a rate that is tied to certain national indexes. The rate changes every six months.

Litigation is expensive and should really be a last resort. Sometimes you have no choice. In these cases, Doug and Ron can give you the best chances of success.


 
 
 
 
 
Dinning & Greve
Located in Roseville, Dinning & Greves, P.L.C., represents clients throughout Michigan, in cities including:
Eastpointe, St. Clair Shores, Warren, Sterling Heights, Clinton, Harrison, Macomb, Shelby and Washington Townships.
Our firm also represents clients in Oakland County, Wayne County, and Macomb County.


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