Attorney Daniel A. Bakondi Esq. is a SuperLawyers-rated civil litigation defense attorney who has been successfully defending clients sued in civil lawsuits for over a decade. As a lawsuit defense lawyer, Attorney Bakondi focuses on a proper initial assessment of the lawsuit, and providing a strong defense, advising and representing you in your best interest. Sometimes, lawsuits are meritless or frivolous, and can be dismissed without you ever having to attend court or deposition. Proper analysis, combined with filing of a proper response in court, is key to getting the case dismissed, or resolved as quickly as possible through negotiation. The other side’s attorneys often do not know the weaknesses of their case, or the strengths of your defenses or possible countersuit. Having competent counsel attack the weaknesses of their case, while knowing what not to do, is key.
If you have been sued, or if your business has been named in a lawsuit, you must act immediately. You may have as little as 20 or 30 days (depending on the forum) from the date you were served to file a response in court or arbitration. If you fail to do so, you may be in default, have default entered against you, and face default judgment, which means you may lose without any right to court proceedings, whether or not the lawsuit had merit! You will lose your right to defend against even a frivolous lawsuit. In such case, the other side may obtain judgment and begin collections for your lack of having taken action to defend the lawsuit.
- What if my company or business has been sued? Can I represent my company?
Appearing in pro per, meaning representing yourself, is not advisable in any case. However, it is generally not permissible for a company or business you own. Only an attorney can appear for an entity.
- When does the time to respond begin to run from?
The time to respond generally runs from the date you were served. Often times, it is not clear when that is. It is often not the date the complaint was filed, but may be. Sometimes your business was served and you were not personally served. The date of service may be on the proof of service, but may not be. And, that date may be in correct legally. Because the date of service of process is a legal question, typically the opposing attorney will have a legal position on when service took place, but that attorney may also be incorrect. You need to hire an attorney to determine when your response is due, and file a proper response in the time allowed to avoid potential loss of your rights.
- What type of response is required to a lawsuit? Can you respond yourself?
It is not advisable to defend a lawsuit yourself, even if you feel the claim has no merit. You may not know your best defenses, or what you may inadvertently admit that will later be used against you. Only an experienced attorney can assess the nature of the case against you, and determine the appropriate response. Sometimes, that response is a motion to dismiss. These motions explain to the court why the complaint against you may be legally insufficient, and allow for dismissal without trial. There are infinite reasons why the person suing you may not have a legal right to pursue the lawsuit against you, warranting dismissal. There may be a jurisdictional issue. There may be problems with their pleadings and its legal allegations. They may have filed in the wrong court or forum. If you have been sued in court while there is an applicable arbitration clause, a proper motion to dismiss the case or compel arbitration may even provide for attorneys’ fees to you. The case may be time-barred by the state of limitations, meaning even if valid, you may have been sued too late.
Only a qualified attorney can file a proper response. If an Answer is the appropriate response, you likewise need an attorney who can prepare the proper documents to file. You do not want to take unnecessary risks in possibly waiving your rights or admitting something that will be used against you later. Sometimes, a failure to properly deny something may constitute an admission!
- Will the other side want to negotiate?
Maybe, but not while they have a complaint pending against you and you have not responded. At this point, you are facing default if you do not respond, and your move is to hire an attorney, prepare and file the appropriate response and defense. Only then will you have a position from which you can negotiate seriously. It is not advisable to send any communications to the other side regarding the matter – you may inadvertently help prove the other side’s case without intending to. Remember, anything you say can AND WILL be used against you, while often stated as part of a criminal arrest, the same can be applied to civil matters. Only an attorney can assess the case, your legal rights, and how to best protect them.
If you are being sued, or have been served with a lawsuit, you must contact an attorney immediately to understand your rights and options. Often times, lawsuits may have no merit, and can be dismissed by an effective law firm without trial.
Attorney Daniel A. Bakondi is a SuperLawyers rated attorney with over a decade of experience in litigation including federal court, state court, and arbitration including FINRA securities arbitration representing and defending a wide variety of individuals, businesses and organizations. Attorney Bakondi is available to provide a defense in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Napa, around the Bay Area, throughout California, and in AAA, JAMS, and FINRA arbitrations nationwide.
Contact immediately for a free consultation.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: No attorney-client nor confidential relationship is created through this communication. Nothing communicated or provided constitutes legal advice nor a legal opinion unless it so specifies and written agreement for attorney services has been entered into. Attorney licensed in California only. Your issue may be time sensitive and may result in loss of rights if you do not act in time. Thank you.