Maryland Civil Litigation Lawyer

Maryland’s civil courts handle a wide range of issues and disputes, and while civil courts typically do not sentence people to jail, the outcome of a civil case can still have an immense impact on someone’s life. For this reason, if you find yourself facing a civil dispute either as a plaintiff or a defendant, it is imperative to take your case seriously and act swiftly to protect your rights and best interests.

If you have grounds for a lawsuit or you are sued by another party, a Maryland civil litigation lawyer could help you navigate the legal system, provide essential support and insight throughout your case, and strategically advance your interests at every stage of the proceedings. Even if the case never goes to trial, a skilled local attorney could help fight for favorable outcomes and work to resolve the dispute in a positive way.

maryland civil litigation lawyer Jesse Stein

Why Might a Case End Up in Civil Litigation?

Disputes may end up in Civil Court for any number of reasons. Sometimes, the parties to a contract cannot agree on what the contract requires, or one party to a contract simply does not want to perform or is not able to fulfill the terms of the bargain they made. In other situations, a party is simply out to take advantage of the other party, in which case litigation is only the only choice for resolving the issue. Examples of why a dispute may end up in Court include:

  • Breaches of contract
  • Violations of non-compete/non-solicitation agreements
  • Corporate disputes
  • Arbitrations and mediations
  • Breaches of Fiduciary Duty/Corporate Governance Claims
  • Defaults on loan agreements
  • Shareholder disputes or “squeeze outs”
  • Disputes over the sale or possession of real property
  • Breach of warranty claims

Whatever the circumstances, it is vital to seek representation from a civil litigation attorney in the area.

The Civil Litigation Case Process

Depending on the circumstances, the exact procedural path that civil litigation follows can vary significantly. That being said, the general procedure for these cases typically follow the same fundamental steps.

The first step to potentially pursuing civil litigation as a plaintiff, or contesting civil litigation as a defendant, is an opening investigation undertaken by the relevant party’s legal counsel. The purpose of this investigation is to determine what grounds may justify a civil case and whether there is any possibility of filing a counterclaim.

Once this investigation is complete, the case would proceed to the pleadings phase, which involves the drafting of legal documents that identify the parties involved in the dispute and list facts material to that dispute. Relevant documents may include the plaintiff’s initial complaint, the defendant’s answer and/or counterclaim, additional complaints from third parties, or even a crossclaim between co-plaintiffs or codefendants.

Next, the discovery phase provides opportunities for each side to refine their legal arguments by uncovering facts that could lead the parties to settle the matter, or which could lead the Court to determine that there is no real dispute of the facts. Following discovery, various pre-trial conference and proceedings may commence, including meetings between the judge and legal counsel for both parties, as well as motions for summary judgement and potentially a request for an out-of-court settlement.

Finally, if no resolution has been reached out of court, the case will proceed to a civil trial before a jury that functions somewhat similarly to a criminal case, albeit with very different potential outcomes. Both sides would present arguments and evidence before the jury or judge, question witnesses, make closing arguments, and the court would then deliberate on and pass down a final ruling.

If one party believes the court’s verdict was unfair, based on flawed information, or constituted a violation of court proceedings, they may have the option to appeal the ruling to a higher appellate court. However, appealing a civil case is a tremendously complex process with less than favorable odds of success, especially without assistance from experienced civil litigation attorneys from the area.

Options for Resolving Civil Cases

Statistics say that when a plaintiff files a complaint in court, it is unlikely to end in a trial. However, that does not mean that you should not take a lawsuit seriously, especially since there are often a number of opportunities throughout the litigation process to secure a dismissal or a judgment, depending on which side you are on.

Courts have the authority to dismiss cases at preliminary stages if they believe the cause of action is frivolous or based on invalid grounds. If a cause of action is valid, judges may encourage the parties to settle or even force them into mediation, during which a third-party mediator would work to bring the parties together in hopes of reaching a mutually agreeable settlement.

Regardless of how a case progresses, litigants are afforded numerous pretrial rights that cannot be infringed upon. A nearby civil litigation attorney could explain these rights in greater detail, review whether litigation may be necessary, and develop a strategy to work toward a positive resolution at each phase of litigation.

Damages Recoverable Through a Successful Claim

For the most part, a plaintiff’s purpose when pursuing civil litigation is to recoup financial losses they experienced due to the defendant’s breach of conduct, fraudulent actions, or other unconscionable or negligent behavior. Accordingly, economic damages for lost income, expenses, and attorney’s fees often make up a significant portion of recovery in a civil matter.

However, in some cases a plaintiff may seek or a court may award equitable remedies in addition or as an alternative to economic damages. Typically, equitable remedies entail a court ordering the defendant to undertake a particular action through what is known as an injunction. Qualified legal counsel could clarify for an individual plaintiff or defendant what damages may be involved in their particular case.

The Role of a Lawyer During Civil Litigation Proceedings

In a basic sense, the job of a Maryland civil litigation attorney is to navigate the legal system efficiently and effectively. This includes providing clients an honest and informed assessment about the strengths and weaknesses of a case, determining whether there is a need for litigation, and explaining the realistic chances for success that an individual cause has. For potential plaintiffs, this means explaining to the client whether they have valid grounds for a case and whether that case is worth pursuing given the costs and likelihood for success. For defendants, this means evaluating the plaintiff’s case and developing possible defenses.

During litigation, an attorney could work to uncover vital evidence and witnesses, identify essential questions of law, and present legal arguments to the Court for the exclusion of evidence or even the dismissal of the claim entirely. A hardworking and seasoned lawyer could make compelling arguments to juries at trial in pursuit of a favorable verdict, and their assistance could potentially make all the difference between winning and losing a case.

A Maryland Civil Litigation Attorney Could Help Parties Engaged in Disputes

The idea of taking a case to court can be intimidating, and the idea of being sued can be terrifying. Fortunately, working with a Maryland civil litigation lawyer from the outset can be an enormous help at every stage of the process and could greatly improve your odds of a positive case result.

Many people assume that filing a lawsuit always leads to a lengthy trial, but most civil cases actually resolve before they get to this point. Furthermore, there are numerous opportunities to end a case before it gets to trial, whether by filing a motion through the legal process or by engaging in cooperative negotiation. Contact a seasoned attorney at our firm today to see how they could help both in and out of court.