Aggressive and Efficient Litigation in Washington State
“Aggressive litigation” is typically synonymous with “expensive litigation.” But not always.
JP. Diener of our firm presented an excellent webinar describing the civil litigation process in general: https://beresfordlaw.com/webinar-youve-been-sued-now-what-introducing-the-litigation-process/. Once the plaintiff files the Complaint, the defendant typically files an Answer, and perhaps other claims of its own. From there, the standard next steps is Discovery – interrogatories, requests for production, depositions, etc. From there, parties may file Motions for Summary Judgment or proceed to trial.
In most litigation, Discovery is the most expensive component. It is where the parties often learn much more about the strengths and weaknesses of their case and the opposing party’s case. But at the outset of the lawsuit, what if you believe you have all the facts necessary to win without Discovery? What if you have no need to “dig” for the winning facts from the opposing party? In this situation, you may want to file a quick Motion for Summary Judgment.
Summary Judgment is appropriate where there are no genuine disagreements regarding the material facts of a case. Sometimes establishing these facts requires extensive Discovery. Other times, it does not – and this is an opportunity for aggressive AND efficient litigation. For example, what if you lend money, and the borrower refuses to pay? When you demand payment pre-litigation, the borrower claims it has made some payment under some side agreement, but you are unaware of this side agreement or any payment. When you sue, do you engage in Discovery? No – you file a quick Motion for Summary Judgment, presenting the loan agreement and a ledger of payments and non-payments. You may choose to file this Motion before even waiting for an Answer.
A quick Motion for Summary Judgment rightfully forces the opposing party to present its defenses without the cost and delay of Discovery. In our example, if the borrower is able to present testimony and documentation which raises a genuine question about the existence of a side agreement or partial payment, that borrower may do so in its Response to Summary Judgment. But because you need no Discovery to prove the straightforward debt, there is no basis to delay swift Summary Judgment for the borrower to conduct Discovery. Rather, the borrower should have all the evidence it needs in its own possession – if such evidence exists – to show a genuine disagreement about the facts of the loan.
This lender-borrower scenario is just one example of an opportunity for litigants to deploy aggressive and efficient litigation. In lawsuits ranging from multimillion dollar business disputes all the way to residential boundary line encroachments, the lawyers at Beresford Booth have extensive experience litigating aggressively – and efficiently. We look forward to working with you.