Please note that White Law is not accepting Landlord/Tenant cases at this time.
If you want to file a lawsuit against someone in Michigan, follow the civil litigation process. By doing so, you can make sure that your case is filed correctly. A Michigan civil litigation lawyer can walk you through this process and help you at every step.
The team at White Law PLLC makes fighting for our clients our top priority. If you want to work with an experienced Michigan civil litigation lawyer, reach out to us. For the time being, we have answers to some of the most common questions we get about the civil litigation process below.
What Is the Civil Litigation Process in Michigan?
Michigan has a civil procedure in place. With this procedure, civil courts follow rules to review a dispute. They then decide what happened and what should be done to resolve the case based on the state’s laws.
A civil case involves two organizations, businesses, or people in disagreement with one another. In this type of case, one party argues that the other violated their legal rights or damaged their property. The party who files the lawsuit (plaintiff) wins or settles their case with the party who they claim is at fault (defendant) by getting compensation.
During a civil lawsuit, a court reaches its decision by going through the adversary process. This involves listening to what each party has to say to support their respective argument. The court then renders its decision.
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What Are the Steps of Michigan’s Civil Litigation Process?
Examples of civil litigation include small claims, civil infractions, and landlord-tenant disputes. Regardless of the case, the process for litigation remains the same. Here are the steps involved in civil litigation in Michigan:
1. You File Your Complaint.
Depending on your case, you will have to file your case with a district, circuit, or probate court. In your complaint, you name the parties involved in your lawsuit, the nature of your grievance, and the result you want. Next, the course delivers a summons, a copy of it is sent to the defendant, and they have up to 21 days to respond.
2. The Defendant Has the Opportunity to Respond to Your Complaint.
There are several avenues a defendant can take after they get your complaint. They can choose to respond to the complaint with the same court where you initially filed it. Or, the defendant can decide not to respond at all, which may lead the court to enter a default judgment in your favor.
3. You and the Defendant Begin the Discovery Process.
The discovery process involves gathering evidence and witness statements, completing depositions, and doing everything you can to build a body of proof. Hiring a civil litigation lawyer in Michigan who has helped their clients achieve outstanding case results is key, particularly at this stage. The lawyer can help you make the most of this period and get information that can be used to develop a compelling argument.
4. You and the Defendant Engage in Settlement Negotiations.
A civil litigation attorney in Michigan can engage with the defendant in settlement negotiations on your behalf. It may be in your best interests to consider a settlement before you bring your case to trial. For example, if you accept a personal injury settlement, you can receive enough money to cover your losses in less time than what would be required with a trial.
5. You and the Defendant Go to Trial.
If your case goes in front of a judge or jury, you no longer have control over the outcome. The court will hear your argument and the defendant’s. They will then provide a verdict.
6. You Get a Judgment.
A judgment is issued if you settle your case, receive a verdict, or your case is settled by default (if a defendant does not respond to your complaint). Even if you get a judgment that is not exactly what you want, you have the option to appeal. There is a 21-day period from the date you receive your judgment to file an appeal, per Michigan Court Rules Subchapter 7.100.
Civil cases are not treated the same way as criminal ones. If you want to learn more about the differences between the processes for civil and criminal cases, White Law PLLC can help you out. Contact us today for more information.
Where Can I File My Civil Case in Michigan?
If your case involves a claim of $25,000 or less, file it in a district court. There are approximately 100 district courts in Michigan. These courts typically handle small claims cases and many others.
You can file your case in a circuit court if the amount in question totals $25,000 or more. Circuit courts tend to have the broadest range of powers. There are 57 such courts in Michigan, and judges who oversee cases in them serve six-year terms.
Probate courts focus on wills, guardianships, conservatorships, and similar legal issues. There are 78 probate courts in Michigan. Probate judges hold their roles for a six-year term.
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Can I Resolve My Case without Having to Go Through the Civil Litigation Process?
Mediation is commonly used to resolve civil litigation. Michigan’s Community Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP) helps people use this option for civil cases. Annually, nearly 30,000 Michigan citizens utilize the program to settle their claims without the need for a trial.
Mediators receive training approved by Michigan’s State Court Administrative Office (SCAO). These professionals do not tell people if they believe their case is strong or weak. Instead, they focus on finding all of the parties involved in a case to reach a resolution that works well for them.
If you are considering mediation, consult with an attorney. This allows you to discuss your options and get answers to legal questions you have. Your lawyer can help you make an informed decision about whether mediation is a viable option for your case.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer to Help Me During the Civil Litigation Process?
Having a lawyer at your side can help you get your desired result during your civil litigation. White Law PLLC can connect you with an attorney who can help you with your civil case. To request a case consultation, contact us today.
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