1) plaintiff's complaint
2) Defendant's response to complaint, must admit or deny claim
3) motion to dismiss: either party (usually defendant) can ask the court to dismiss the case if the pleadings fail to show a legal claim
4) pretrial motions: 4a) motion for judgment on the pleadings asks the court to rule on the case based on the pleadings 4b) motion for summary judgment asks a court to grant a judgment for moving party without a trial, facts are viewed in the light most favorable to the other party
5) Discovery: process by which parties obtain information from the opposing party prior to trial, depositions and interrogations, requests for admissions, electronic discovery e-evidence
6) Pretrial conference: a meet with the trial judge, explore possibility of settlement, identify issues in dispute
7) Jury selection, Voir Dire, jurors dismissed if biased
8) The trial, opening arguments, evidence relevant to issues, Plaintiff's motion for directed verdict, defendant's evidence, plaintiff can rebut evidence
9) Post trial motions: after jury reaches a verdict, either party can file a post trial motion, Motion for J.N.O.V.: granted only if the jury's verdict was unreasonable and erroneous, Motion for New Trial: after looking at all the evidence, judge will grant the motion IF the jury was in error
10) The Appeal, Filing: a party may appeal the jury's verdict or any legal issue, motion or court ruling during the trial, Appellants must have legitimate grounds for appeal (usually legal error).
Appellate Review: appeals court can affirm (agree with) or reverse (disagree with) the lower court's decision.
11) Enforcing the Judgment, Litigation process can reach a verdict, but what if the defendant has no assets, or insurance? Usually, a plaintiff's attorney will verify that the defendant has assets or insurance before she will proceed with the lawsuit