A serious legal dispute can threaten your assets, your income and your future. The litigation lawyers at Curran Law Office are experienced in handling all types of litigation in a proactive, cost-effective manner.

Our attorneys have experience representing clients in all types of litigation such as those involving:

  • Personal Injury
  • Contract disputes
  • Property damage claims
  • Partner and shareholder disputes
  • Real estate disputes
  • Construction disputes
  • Insurance coverage disputes
  • Probate and trust disputes
  • Debt collection disputes
  • Criminal Law matters
  • Product liability and torts
  • Business disputes
  • Will contests

Our attorneys have a reputation for being aggressive, experienced advocates.  However, we understand that litigation should be the last resort in solving a legal dispute. Therefore, before commencing litigation, our attorneys evaluate all possible options to resolve the dispute.  In many cases, we are able to achieve a workable and acceptable solution through negotiation.  In some cases, alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration, are used to reach a settlement.

However, when it is determined that litigation is the best way, or the only way, to protect your interests and achieve your goals, we will work to build a strong and persuasive case for you. Careful, thorough case preparation can often convince the other party to agree to a negotiated settlement without the need to go to trial.

Futhermore, Curran Law Office has a strong appellate practice.  Therefore, if your case goes beyond a typical trial, we are ready and experienced to seamlessly handle your case before the appellate courts.

Common Questions

Do you have questions about litigation in Wisconsin?

See below for answers to frequently asked questions.

What is litigation? Who are litigators?

Litigation is the act or process of resolving a dispute in a court of law. Litigators are lawyers who represent clients who are engaged in litigation.

What is the difference between a criminal case and a civil case?

Criminal cases are started by the government (usually a district attorney), and involve a claim that the defendant has committed a crime.  In criminal cases, the government is seeking to punishment the defendant through fines and/or imprisonment. Civil cases are started by one citizen or entity who asserts a claim against another citizen or entity.  Civil cases usually ask the defendant to pay money or perform some task.  Civil suits typically take place when two individuals or parties cannot resolve a dispute between themselves.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary, informal and flexible dispute resolution process. Parties to a dispute hire a mediator, whose role is to guide the parties toward their own resolution. The mediator will carry messages—offers, counter offers, questions, demands, and proposals—between both sides to help the parties move closer to resolution of their dispute.  The mediator helps both sides define the issues clearly, understand each other’s position, and develop a solution to the dispute.  Mediators cannot force either party to make or accept an offer to resolve the dispute.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is another dispute resolution process in which the disputing parties agree that one or several individuals can make a decision about the dispute after receiving evidence and hearing arguments.   Arbitration is different from mediation because the arbitrator has the authority to make a decision about the dispute. The arbitration process is similar to a trial in that the parties make opening statements and present evidence to the arbitrator. Compared to traditional trials, arbitration can usually be completed more quickly, less formally, and less expensively.  After the hearing, the arbitrator issues a decision, which may be either binding or non-binding. When it is binding, the decision is final and can be enforced by a court.  When arbitration is non-binding, the arbitrator’s award is advisory and only becomes binding if accepted by the parties.

What is a statute of limitations?

A statute of limitation is a law which establishes the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against someone for a particular thing. There are different statutes of limitations for different offenses – this should be something you check into immediately if you feel you have a valid claim against someone.

How long does it usually take for a case to go to trial?

Every case is different.  Length depends upon the type of case, the number of parties, the number of witnesses, the number of legal and factual issues, the judge’s schedule, and many other factors. Some cases can go to court within a few months (e.g., eviction and small claims cases) while others may take years (e.g., personal injury and business disputes).

How do I start a case?

Most cases are started by filing written documents with the Clerk of Court.  Different documents are filed for different kinds of cases. For example, in most cases, documents called a “summons” and “complaint” must be filed.  In divorce cases, a “summons” and “petition” must be filed. In cases seeking a restraining order, just a “petition” must be filed. These documents must then be properly “served” on the other parties.  Clerks of Court have some forms available for the public to use to start some cases (e.g., divorces, small claims, evictions, harassment injunctions).

What are pleadings?

Pleadings are documents filed with the Court containing the parties’ allegations and defenses. Pleadings include the complaint, answer to the complaint, counterclaims/cross claims, answers to any counterclaims/cross claims, third-party complaints and answers to any third-party complaints.

What is discovery?

Discovery is the process by which the parties exchange factual information and evidence related to the case. The parties can request that the other side answer written questions (interrogatories), or answer questions in person (depositions), or produce documents and other evidence. This process allows parties to obtain full disclosure of information and facts, secure evidence for use at trial, and clarify the issues to be litigated. By allowing the parties to “discover” all the facts and evidence before trial, discovery helps foster settlement of the case.

What is an interrogatory?

Interrogatories are written questions that are formally served upon a party during the discovery process. These questions must be answered under oath, within 30 days.

What is a deposition?

At a deposition, attorneys question witnesses, who are under oath, about their knowledge of the case. A court reporter records the testimony. Just as in court, your attorney may object to particular questions and the rules of evidence are followed. Depositions serve several functions. Like all discovery proceedings, depositions allow the parties to obtain facts and information in preparation for trial.

What is a motion for summary judgment?

In a summary judgment motion, a party asks the court to render judgment on an issue, a claim, a defense, or the whole case.  To win a motion for summary judgment, the moving party must show that (1) there are no material facts in dispute regarding the issue at hand, and (2) the law supports the movant’s argument regarding the issue at hand.  Summary judgment motions are generally hard to win.

What should I do if someone sues me?

Don’t ignore it. Carefully read the documents which are served on you.  These will tell you what the case is about and will give you a specific number of days to file a written response with the Court.  If you fail to file a written response, the court will enter a judgment against you for whatever was alleged in the complaint or petition.  It is smart to contact a lawyer who can explain the process, explain the risks, and in general, provide you with the information to help you decide whether you will need a lawyer.

Must I hire an attorney for my case? Should I hire an attorney for my case?

You are not required to hire a lawyer for your case.  However, there is an old saying:  “the man who represents himself has a fool for an attorney.” The truth is: attorneys are experienced in handling cases. It is their day-to-day job.  They know the rules, the pitfalls and the problems. It is a good idea to at least speak with a lawyer about your case before you try to handle it yourself. Representing yourself may seem less expensive than hiring an attorney. However, in the end, it could cost you more. Depending on your case, there may be multiple legal theories, multiple parties and complex issues. In addition, the trial process requires strict compliance with many procedural rules regarding discovery, motions, evidence, witnesses, and deadlines, which can easily overwhelm an individual not trained in the law.

When should I hire an attorney?

Promptly.  The best time to speak with an attorney is as soon as you are sued, or as soon as you believe you have a claim against someone.  Waiting can cause big problems, such as the loss of evidence, the loss of witnesses, the running of the statute of limitations, or the award of a judgment against you. Your attorney should be hired in plenty of time to understand the details of the case so that he or she can research and plan a winning strategy.

How do I hire a lawyer?

Interview several lawyers.  You probably didn’t buy the first car you looked at, so why hire the first lawyer you talk to.  Make sure you meet the lawyer who is going to handle your case, and not some assistant or paralegal.  Ask hard questions: What will it cost?  How do I pay?  When do I pay? What is the likelihood of success? What is the process?  Look for a lawyer who has experience with your type of case, and who you feel comfortable with.  In cases involving litigation, the Wisconsin Rules of Ethics require lawyers to have a written contract with the client, spelling out the terms and conditions of their relationship.  Carefully review this contract.  Make sure you understand all its terms and conditions.  Ask more questions.

What happens if I decide to settle the dispute by myself?

Settling your case out of court is a great way to save time and money. However, you want to make sure that your settlement is full and final, and achieves what you want it to achieve. Your settlement agreement should be in writing. It is wise to have an attorney prepare or review the agreement so that it accomplishes what you want it to – nothing more and nothing less.

We can help. Contact us.

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