Filing a Lawsuit in Fresno County, California
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If you think that you may want to file a lawsuit, you should not make this decision easily, and there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account. Obviously, you should never go into a lawsuit without at least consulting a reliable Fresno County, California civil litigation attorney.
The Fresno County, California attorney you end up contacting will be able to advise you on whether you have a good case. If you do, they will further advise you on your best options on how to proceed. Your lawyer can also inform you about what their fees are, and if they have multiple payment options.
Steps for Filing a Lawsuit in Fresno County, California
Consultation with your attorney: Before you proceed with any legal action in Fresno County, California, you should seek the advice and counsel of a seasoned Fresno County, California attorney. He or she will be indispensable in helping you succeed in your lawsuit.
Drafting The Complaint: Once you determine that pursuing a lawsuit in Fresno County, California civil court is worth your time and effort, you need to file a complaint. The complaint can set the tone, and frame the issues, for the rest of the litigation procedure, which can drag on for months, or even years (and decades, in some cases). This is because the complaint lays out all the allegations against the defendant. It also normally asks the court for particular relief, should it rule in the plaintiff's favor.
Serving The Defendant: Once you, or your lawyer, have drafted a complaint, the defendant must be served with it, so they have notice that they're being sued, and are given time to prepare a defense. Fresno County, California has certain rules governing how a complaint must be served, for the service to be valid. Personal service (having someone give the documents directly to the defendant) is preferred. However, some courts will also accept service by mail in limited circumstances, or service upon an adult member of the defendant's household.
Await Defendant's Response: In Fresno County, California, the law gives civil defendants a fairly long period of time (a month or two normally) to respond to a lawsuit against them. The most frequent response is either an answer (where they address the factual allegations against them, normally denying most or all of the allegations) or a motion to dismiss (where the contend that, even if everything alleged in the complaint is true, those facts would not establish liability). If the defendant does nothing, and fails to respond, they run the risk of having a default judgment entered against them. This normally means that the court automatically rules against them, treating the plaintiff as if they won the lawsuit. This gives the plaintiff a judgment against the defendant, which they can seek to collect using all legal means.
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As you can see, it can be a complex and difficult process to file a lawsuit in Fresno County, California, and it is, in fact, much more complex than the basic outline you just read.
Thus, it is imperative that you consult a qualified civil litigation attorney before you file any type of lawsuit in Fresno County, California.