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Civil Litigation

As Americans and New Yorkers, we are all entitled to certain inalienable rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble, the right to bear arms, and the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Our laws also say that you cannot be discriminated against based on your age, race, religion, sex, or for any disability you might have.

For the most part in New York, we live in a society of people who abide by these rules and respect people’s freedoms, but sometimes your civil rights can be infringed upon by employers, other people – even the government.

If you believe your civil rights as a New Yorker have been infringed upon by a person, business, or some other kind of entity, there are a number of steps that you can take with the legal system of New York. However, since New York civil litigation law is so complicated, it is important that you seek out an experienced New York civil litigation lawyer to discuss your case in detail and form a plan of action. An experienced civil litigation attorney will be able to:

  • Listen carefully to your side of the story and provide you with expert legal guidance
  • Assess your grievances and tell you if you have a case that is worth pursuing
  • Help you navigate the tricky legal waters of New York civil litigation
  • Tailor a specific strategy for dealing with the issue or issues
  • Facilitate prompt, successful resolutions by implementing creative and innovative measures
  • Where appropriate, utilize alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to save time and cut costs
  • Work within your needs and budget while still trying to provide you with the best possible outcome
  • Argue your case before a judge or negotiate with third parties
  • Support you as you take action to protect the civil liberties of yourself and others

Civil litigation can also involve breach of contract, which occurs when one or more of the parties to the contract does not honor a binding agreement or bargained-for exchange by not doing what they said they would or by interfering in such a way that prevents you from honoring your part of the bargain. If this occurs, that party is said to be in breach of the contract.

An example of a breach of contract lawsuit is when a contractor you hired fails to complete a renovation of your home as agreed to in your written contract. Below is a quick guide that summarizes the basic steps, legal process of a breach of contract lawsuit.

Legal Steps:

1. Prove that the Agreement exists – literally provide a copy of the contract

2. Prove that there has been a breach of the Agreement (failure on one side to perform or pay) – show how the party you are suing didn’t live up to their end of the bargain

3. Prove that you have been caused damages due to this breach of Agreement (loss of profit, damage to business) – show directly how the other party’s refusal to meet their responsibilities in the agreement had a negative effect on you

Legal Process:

1. File a complaint with the court

2. The Defendant will answer the complaint; it is possible they could start a counterclaim

3. There will be a Period of Discovery which contains oral and written questions from each side (Interrogatories and Bills of Particulars are written discovery; Depositions are discovery interviews)

4. Discovery conferences occur; in New York County, this means that you will have a preliminary conference and a series of compliance, status, and settlement conferences

5. Motions requesting certain relief occur; if they believe that there are no issues of fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, for example, a party may make a summary judgment motion

6. The trial occurs

Breach of contract cases can take anywhere between 1 and 5 years and involve many complicated steps, so if you believe you may become involved in one, retaining the counsel of an experienced New York civil litigation attorney is an incredibly important step.

Civil litigation attorneys represent businesses and individuals in legal disputes that come about in a variety of business contexts.  An experienced New York civil litigation lawyer will work together with you to analyze your case and tailor a specific strategy for dealing with the issue that fits your needs and budget.

By Eric Sachs