Despite your best efforts to avoid it, you have a need to go to court.
The process can be arduous, but understanding how it works can help you through it.
From a high level, here is how you can progress through a Civil Litigation process:
- First, someone (the plaintiff) files a complaint in a California court.
- The plaintiff serves the complaint on the defendant(s). They have 60 days to do this [CRC 3.110]).
- The defendant files a responsive pleading, representing an answer typically containing a general denial, or
- a demurrer (in California),
- a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss (in Federal Court), or
- a motion to strike.
An answer may also contain a cross-complaint against the plaintiff or other parties.
- After all parties have responded, the Court will establish there is a case at issue, then the discovery process begins, that can include:
- Written interrogatory questions
- Document Demands
- Eventually the Court will schedule a Case Management Conference (CMC). A CMC Statement must be filed with the Court before. The parties, or their counsel, are required to attend. Sometimes attorneys appear by telephone with the Court’s permission.
- The Court may order the parties participate in mediation during the CMC.
- Also, at the CMC, the Court may also set certain dates such as:
- Trial Readiness Conference
- First Expert Exchange
- Second Expert Exchange
- Discovery Cutoff
- After a judgment, either side may file post-trial motions.
- Either side may appeal a final judgment. An appeal can extend the litigation process by a year or more.
Confused? We can help.