Clash of the Titans —What is Construction Litigation?
They are as varied as the construction projects themselves — disputes between contracting parties. Let’s face it, construction projects both large and small can be layered and complex, when there are many people making decisions, there are bound to be disagreements and misunderstandings. Things can go very wrong, very quickly. If differences can’t be resolved, an attorney, well-versed in construction litigation, can be brought in to manage communications between the parties and address the issues — ultimately saving time and money.
Professional attorneys like those at Lubliner Law can step in and take a heated situation down to a simmer — fast.
Construction litigation attorneys, also known as construction litigators or trial lawyers represent all facets of the industry from contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and other construction professionals. They come in to resolve matters regarding everything such as:
- Contract disputes
- Breaches of contract
- Construction administration issues
- Construction defects and delays
- Cost and payment disputes
- Design disputes
- Time disputes
- Construction liens and bond claims
- Job abandonment disputes
- Workmanship claims.
Many times, contacting an attorney at the first sign of impending trouble can lead to resolving the dilemma using an alternative dispute resolution or settlement instead of going through the process of more costly litigation.
However, if you find yourself in the process of construction litigation, it’s a good idea to understand that process, the various phases and what role your attorney will play during the litigation.
The Anatomy of Construction Litigation:
Is there enough evidence to determine if we can bring a lawsuit or defend against a potential lawsuit? That’s what your lawyer will discover. The process involves digging up the details. The attorney will locate, interview and take the testimony of witnesses, gather up all supporting documents and go over them in great detail. Putting it all together, the attorney will analyze all of the events that led up to the dispute to come up with this determination. A thorough investigation will go a long way in laying the groundwork to serve as the foundation of the lawsuit or building a solid defense.
The initial explanation of each party’s side of the dispute is filed in papers known as pleadings.
This starts the litigation process. The plaintiff files a complaint in court and also formally delivers a copy of the complaint to the defendant. In the complaint, the plaintiff gives their version of the facts. The complaint explains what the defendant did or didn’t do to cause harm to the plaintiff. It also specifies the damages, framing the issues of the case.
Just as you might expect the answer is what the defendant comes back with. They are given a certain amount of time by the court to provide an explanation or their side of the dispute. In doing so, there may be a counterclaim filed explaining how the defendant may have been harmed and should be held liable. Basically, the answer is a statement by the defendant explaining why the plaintiff should not prevail.
The discovery process is where the plaintiff and defendant formally exchange information about the witnesses and evidence they’ll present at trial. The information exchanged allows the parties to have insight on what evidence will be presented, so there are no big surprises. To enable the process of discovery and obtain information attorneys use tactics such as depositions, interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admission, motions to compel, protective orders and summary judgment motions.
After this, if the case is not already resolved out of court, the attorneys close out the discovery phase and begin the pre-trial process.
During pre-trial attorneys will get ready to appear in court. This is where everything is laid out on the table, and attorneys develop their trial strategy based on all of the facts and evidence gathered. The strategy will include the best ways to tell your side of the story. To emphasize points, attorneys will gather witnesses and experts to call upon during trial to drive the point home to the judge or jury.
Your construction litigation attorney will prepare you for this critical phase of the process. At this time the strengths and weaknesses of your case have been identified and are implanted in the strategy. Like a good conductor, your attorney will aim to run the show, preparing you and your witnesses for testimony. The attorney will tell your side of the story in the most convincing way possible using persuasive arguments — weaving together witness testimony, evidence and the facts of the case. The attorney will present an opening statement and reiterate points in their closing. During the trial the attorney will argue trial motions, examine the accounts of the other side’s witnesses and cross-examine them. This is done to win over the judge or jury and convince them that your version of events is the correct version.
At any point during the litigation process, an agreement can be reached. In a settlement it no one is pronounced a winner or loser, in fact, it’s not stated that anyone was right or wrong in the case. Instead, an agreement is negotiated based on the strength of the evidence. Construction litigation settlements offers are very dependent on the matter and can vary significantly as the case proceeds. It usually involves finding out what amount of money, short of the full amount of the claim that would be acceptable to walk away from the lawsuit.
If you do not receive a favorable outcome during the trial, your attorney may ask the court to appeal it. During the appeal process, the attorney may draft motions post trail that state the specific issues for the appeal. The attorney will come up with new strategies and present further evidence and oral arguments in appellate court.
If you find yourself getting into a construction dispute, do not hesitate. Get help right away before more damage can be done. The attorneys at Lubliner Law are proficient in Construction Litigation and can prepare all of the legal documents, strategies, and negotiations needed to come to a resolution.
We have a wealth of experience and knowledge and can provide you with the exact guidance you’ll need through any legal process that you may face during this very complicated and layered process. Ultimately, we protect your interests by doing diligent work — earning your trust.
We are experienced advocates that vigorously represent the rights of our clients. Call Lubliner Law (561) 207-2018 for a free consultation, or email firstname.lastname@example.org — We’re Here to Help.