The Process of Filing a Lawsuit

A lawsuit is a legal process that allows you to take someone else to court and ask the court to make them pay you for something they did. The process includes pleadings, discovery and trial.


Suing is a complex process. It requires a great deal of knowledge and experience to get the results you want. It can be a costly, time-consuming and stressful endeavor that can also negatively affect your business.

Complaint and Summons

A complaint is the legal document that outlines the facts and allegations of a civil lawsuit. It also sets forth the type of relief that the plaintiff is seeking from the defendant. The complaint is often accompanied by a summons that notifies the defendant that an action has been filed against him, her or it and gives the defendant a set period of time to respond.

The summons identifies the court in which the case is to be heard, contains the signature and seal of the clerk, and identifies the parties involved. The summons also states the date and time at which the defendant must appear in court.

Some jurisdictions also require that the summons be mailed to the defendant, which is usually done through a third-party service company. Alternatively, the defendant can be personally served by a person (such as a police officer or a private process server) who is authorized to serve legal documents under a state’s rules for service of process.

In some jurisdictions, a plaintiff must file a separate, detailed form containing his or her facts and allegations called an “Answer to Complaint” with the court within a specified time period. Defendants can also file one or more pre-answer motions to challenge the validity of the complaint and its allegations.

It is important to start working on your answer as soon as possible. Generally, you will have 20 or 30 days to complete your response. It is best to start well before this time so that you have ample opportunity to review your allegations and to write and format your response according to your court’s rules.

You can use examples to help you draft your answer, but you should always tailor it to your particular situation and the facts of your case. It is always a good idea to get professional help if you need it.

You should also be sure that your address, telephone number and e-mail address are correct. If they change, you must let the Pro Se Intake Unit know in writing. Failure to do so can cause the court and other parties involved to lose confidence in your ability to comply with their rules and may prevent you from filing a response on time.

Service of Process

Service of process is the process of formally delivering legal documents to parties involved in a lawsuit. This includes the complaint, summons and any other papers issued in the case.

In a lawsuit, the person who files the suit (the plaintiff) or the plaintiff’s attorney serves the complaint and summons on the defendant. This may be done by hand, post or by certified mail.

Generally, the defendant must be served within a reasonable time after receiving notice of the action. If the defendant is not served in a timely manner, the court can find him in default and award relief to the claimant, petitioner or plaintiff.

There are many different laws regarding who is to be served, when service can occur, and how it is done. This can make it difficult to determine whether or not the service was completed correctly.

One way to ensure proper service is to designate someone in your company who can accept any and all legal documents that may come to your business’s attention. This will help to ensure that your company is properly served and that everyone in your organization knows of the pending lawsuit.

Another way to ensure that service is performed properly is to make sure that you have a valid agent for service of process in the state that your business is registered in and in each additional state where you are incorporated. If you do not have a valid agent for service of process, your business could be in danger of being dismissed by the court or other authorities.

Having an authorized agent for service of process is important to protect your business’s reputation. It will give you peace of mind knowing that if your company is sued, your company’s paperwork will be properly delivered to the right people at the right time.

A process serving agency is responsible for keeping complete and accurate records of the process servers to whom it distributes, assigns or delivers the process being served. The agency also is required to correct any records that are found to be inaccurate by drawing a straight line through the inaccurate entry and clearly printing the correct information directly above it.


When one party or both parties to a lawsuit start to gather information about the case, they are engaged in what is called discovery. This is an important part of the process because it often turns up facts and documents that were previously unknown to either side, which can strengthen their arguments at trial.

It is also very expensive for the parties to obtain the documents needed for discovery, as well as to review the thousands of records that may be involved in a civil case. In fact, discovery costs account for a large portion of the total legal expenses in most cases.

During the discovery process, the parties are allowed to ask questions of the other party to find out what they know about the case and how they would defend it. These are called interrogatories, and they can be submitted in writing and must be answered under oath.

Many people don’t realize that this is a very important tool for finding out what evidence is relevant in a case. It can help a lawyer decide how to present their case in court, and it can even lead to changes in settlement positions that could be made based on new information.

There are many different types of documents that can be requested during discovery, and these can range from financial records to emails or social media postings. However, some types of information can be protected by law from being disclosed. This is called “privileged” information and may include conversations between two spouses or trade secrets.

The other type of discovery is called “inspection.” In this method, the parties are allowed to go to the other party’s place of business or to another location where the defendant has custody of documents and inspect them. This can be an expensive and time-consuming way to gather information, but it can be an important tool when trying to establish or defend a case.

During the discovery process, parties can also use motions to ask the court for things like clarification of specific issues in their case, or to change the legal theories or allegations they have in their pleadings. These motions can also be used to dismiss a part of the case if it is no longer relevant to the lawsuit.


A lawsuit is a legal process that involves one party (called the plaintiff) suing another party (called the defendant) for damages based on their alleged actions. The plaintiff and defendant then go through a trial in a court of law to try to resolve their dispute.

A trial is a formal proceeding in which a judge or jury decides whether to award compensation to a plaintiff for his injuries or property damage. The plaintiff and defendant have to present evidence, including witnesses, and explain their arguments.

Before a trial, the plaintiff must do a pre-suit investigation, which includes gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. The plaintiff must also ensure that all the appropriate parties are involved in the process and that the rules of the court are followed.

At this stage, a judge will set a date for the trial. This date will usually be some time in the future, but it can be as long as 18 months from the date the case was filed.

After the date for the trial is set, the parties will have a “Case Management Conference” to discuss issues that may arise during the trial and to prepare for the trial. The judge will want all the parties and their attorneys to be there at this hearing, but if your attorney is not available, you should let them know.

You will receive a copy of your trial schedule from the judge after this conference, which includes the date for the trial and the time slots when you can attend. You should plan to be there on your trial date because you will need to be prepared and ready to testify and present your case.

The trial will begin with a brief presentation by each of the parties explaining their arguments and the evidence they will present. Then, a jury or judge will hear the testimony of each witness and decide which party should be awarded the most money.

After the verdict is made, a party can appeal to an appellate court and ask that the judge’s decision be changed or for a new trial. The appeal can be a difficult process, and the result of an appeal is often res judicata, meaning that the plaintiff cannot bring an action on the same claim again.