Solodyn® Civil Litigation

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How Does a Lawsuit Work?

Basic Steps in the Civil Litigation Process.

When you sue someone for damages, such as for Solodyn® side effects, you are engaging in a civil court action called a lawsuit, sometimes a pharmaceutical lawsuit. The lawsuit involves a series of formal activities called litigation. Litigation includes such things as legal counsel, filings with the court, gathering evidence, and depositions. Civil cases are a specific category of litigation, differentiated from criminal, family or juvenile cases.

Civil lawsuits generally proceed through distinct steps: pleadings, discovery, trial, and possibly an appeal. This process may be voluntarily halted at any time by an agreed-upon settlement. While many cases settle early, if there is a trial and an appeal, the entire process may take years to complete.

  • Legal Terminology Open or Close

    Answer: the formal written statement by a defendant in a civil case that responds to a complaint, articulating the grounds for defense.

    Complaint: a written statement that begins a civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff details the claims against the defendant.

    Defendant: the person or organization against whom the plaintiff brings suit.

    Deposition: an oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Such statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be used later in trial.

    Disclosure Statement: a summary of the facts, law, witnesses, and evidence that a party expects to utilize during the trial.

    Discovery: procedures used to obtain disclosure of evidence before trial.

    Expert Witness: a person who is permitted to testify at a trial because of special knowledge, education, or proficiency in a particular field that is relevant to the case.

    Interrogatories: a form of discovery consisting of written questions to be answered in writing and under oath.

    Litigation : a case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.

    Mediation: a form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties to a lawsuit meet with a neutral third-party in an effort to settle the case.

    Parties: both the plaintiff and defendant.

    Plaintiff: a person or business that files a formal complaint with the court.

    Pleadings: written statements filed with the court that describe a party's legal or factual assertions about the case.

    Relief : damages sought in a civil complaint, usually monetary damages.

    Reply : either party may have to file a reply, which is an answer to new allegations raised in pleadings.

    Request for Admission: a set of statements sent from one litigant to an adversary, for the purpose of having the adversary admit or deny the statements or allegations therein.

    Requests for Production of Documents or Things: a legal request for documents, electronically stored information, or other tangible items.

    Service of Process: the procedure by which a party to a lawsuit gives an appropriate notice of initial legal action to another party. The person delivering the notice is called a process server.

    Subpoena: a command, issued under a court's authority, to a witness to appear and give testimony.

    Trial: a formal meeting in a court in which evidence is presented to a judge and often a jury so that decisions can be made according to the law.

    Verdict: a decision of a trial jury or a judge that determines the final outcome of a civil case.

Keeping in mind that each case is unique, the following outline covers the basic steps involved.

  1. The Parties

    The parties in a lawsuit are the plaintiff A person or business that files a formal complaint with the court. and the defendant The person or organization against whom the plaintiff brings suit.. Each party includes one or more persons or businesses. The plaintiff is the alleged injured party, and the defendant is the party accused of causing the injury.

  2. Pleadings

    The legal papers filed with the court in civil lawsuits are known as pleadings Written statements filed with the court that describe a party's legal or factual assertions about the case.. The pleadings explain each party's side of the dispute. The plaintiff submits a complaint A written statement that begins a civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff details the claims against the defendant. stating the cause of action - the issue or issues in controversy. The defendant submits an answer The formal written statement by a defendant in a civil case that responds to a complaint, articulating the grounds for defense. stating his or her defenses and denials. The parties then exchange disclosure statements Summary of the facts, which is the law, witnesses, and evidence that they expect to utilize during the trial..
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    • Complaint Open or Close

      Civil litigation begins when the the initial paperwork of a lawsuit, called the complaint, is filed with the court on behalf of the plaintiff.

      The complaint contains a short and precise statement of the facts about why the plaintiff deserves relief (usually monetary damages), and describes what the the defendant is accused of doing or failing to do that allegedly caused harm to the plaintiff.

      After being filed, the complaint is officially served on the defendant, meaning it is physically handed to the defendant or its official representative. This serving of papers is called "service of process" and may only be performed by a process server approved by the Court.

    • Answer Open or Close

      After the complaint is served, the defendant is given a specific amount of time to file an answer. The answer is the first responsive pleading filed by the defendant in a civil action; a formal written statement that admits or denies the allegations in the complaint and sets forth any available affirmative defenses.

      In some instances, in lieu of an answer or reply, the defendant may request that the other party clarify or correct deficiencies in its allegations or theories, or may ask the court to dismiss part or all of the lawsuit. This may lead to amended complaints or amended answers.

    • Disclosure Statement Open or Close

      Once the answer is filed, the parties must file disclosure statements, which are summaries of the facts, law, witnesses, and evidence that the parties each expect to utilize during the trial.

  3. Discovery

    Discovery is the pre-trial procedure in a lawsuit in which each party can obtain evidence from the other party or parties by means of discovery devices such as a request for answers to interrogatories Written questions to be answered in writing and under oath., request for admissions A set of statements sent from one litigant to an adversary, for the purpose of having the adversary admit or deny the statements or allegations therein., depositions An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Such statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be used later in trial., request for production of documents or things A legal request for documents, electronically stored information, or other tangible items., and possible interviews with expert witnesses Persons who are permitted to testify at a trial because of special knowledge, education, or proficiency in a particular field that is relevant to the case.. Discovery begins soon after the lawsuit is filed and often does not stop until shortly before trial.

    Comprehensive research of the law, document review and organization, and witness interviews — these help clients and their lawyers assess the merits of claims and defenses. The extent to which these and other steps are necessary is determined by the issues of the case. While many of these items below may be required of the parties, a subpoena may be issued requiring a non-party to respond as well. Discovery includes:

    • Interrogatories Open or Close

      Interrogatories are written questions that are formally sent from one party to the other, to which each must respond under oath. Interrogatories are used to clarify matters of fact and help to determine in advance what facts will be presented at any trial in the case. They often include requests for copies of documents and requests for admission.

    • Request for Admission Open or Close

      A requests for admission is a set of statements sent from one party to the other, for the purpose of having the adversary admit or deny the truth of each statement under oath. If admitted, the statement is considered to be true for all purposes of the trial.

    • Depositions Open or Close

      A deposition is sworn out-of-court testimony, in which the witness is questioned by the parties' attorneys, and the answers recorded by a court reporter.

      Depositions are used to learn more about the facts of a case and what the various witnesses contend happened. Depositions may be used at trial to show inconsistencies in a witness's story or to question credibility. The recorded testimony from a deposition sometimes may also be used at trial in place of a witness who is not able to attend the trial in person.

    • Requests for Production of Documents or Things Open or Close

      Requests for Production of Documents or Things is a legal request for the parties to exchange documents, electronically stored information, or other tangible items.

    • Expert Witness Open or Close

      An expert witness is a person who is permitted to testify at a trial because of special knowledge, education, or proficiency in a particular field that is relevant to the case.

      Often a claim or defense requires support from expert witnesses to explain technical information or validate an argument. One or more experts might be needed to testify about the connection between the defendant's conduct and the loss suffered by the plaintiff, or the existence and amount of the plaintiff's damages. Expert witnesses work closely with a party's representatives and attorneys to prepare the party's case.

      An expert witness will usually be asked to attend a deposition and may be asked to respond to a Request for Production of Documents and Things.

      The parties will typically draft a Disclosure Statement relating to their expert witnesses.

  4. Mediation

    After discovery is completed, the parties may attend a mediation A form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties to a lawsuit meet with a neutral third-party in an effort to settle the case., a hearing where a neutral, third-party lawyer will attempt to get the parties to settle the case. If the mediation is unsuccessful, then the parties are likely to go to trial.

  5. Trial

    If the mediation is unsuccessful, then the parties are likely to go to trial A formal meeting in a court in which evidence is presented to a judge and often a jury so that decisions can be made according to the law., which is a hearing in court where evidence is presented and the issues are discussed in front of a jury and/or judge who will then render a verdict based on the merits of the case.

  6. Appeal

    The verdict may be appealed by either party for legal errors committed by the judge, but there is a strong presumption that the verdict, whatever it may be, will stand. Courts today are very backlogged with cases. Civil cases take a lower priority than criminal cases. The entire process can sometimes take years, especially if there is a trial and an appeal. The longest known civil case went on for over 50 years, involved dozens of attorneys, and outlived the parties by almost a decade. Obviously, the vast majority of cases do not take that long.

Contact Us with Your Questions

We hope you find this description of the basic civil lawsuit process helpful. The litigators at Mick Levin, P.L.C. have the experience you need when you want to defend your rights against Solodyn® side effects. We provide the expertise on the legal issues, the trial process, your options for resolution, and the potential risks and rewards of each option.

Justice You Deserve.

Due to the drug maker's misleading statements about the side effects of Solodyn®, hundreds of individuals have sustained irreparable damages. If you or a loved one suffered from lupus, hepatitis, or vasculitis from taking Solodyn®, act now by requesting your free consultation—you may be eligible to receive financial compensation.

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Solodyn® (minocycline hydrochloride) is a teracycline antibiotic that is prescribed for the treatment of non-nodular moderate to severe acne.

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