The Seven Phases of Construction Litigation
Phases of construction litigation: When a dispute arises between contracting parties and their differences cannot be resolved, it tends to end up in litigation. A construction attorney sometimes referred to as a trial lawyer or construction litigator, represents suppliers, contractors, subcontractors, and other professionals within the construction industry in legal matters such as construction delays and defects, breaches of contract, bond claims, construction liens, job abandonment disputes, workmanship claims, and contract disputes.
If you are a South Carolina-based contractor or construction professional embroiled in a construction dispute, the best thing to do is to seek the legal help of a South Carolina construction attorney. With an experienced and qualified lawyer as your representation, your dispute could get resolved through either settlement or alternative dispute resolution instead of costly litigation.
With that being said, it is worth noting that there are seven phases of construction litigation, and the attorney you choose will play a crucial role during the process. Here is a brief outline of each step:
Phase #1: Case Investigations
A case investigation is used to help determine if there is enough evidence in a dispute to either defend a potential lawsuit or file one. During the investigation phase, construction litigation attorneys work on locating witnesses, taking testimonies, gathering relevant documents, and analyzing the events that led up to the dispute.
Phase #2: Pleadings
Construction litigation lawyers may draft various types of pleadings on behalf of clients depending on the nature and type of case. For plaintiffs – the party bringing the suit – a construction litigation lawyer may draft a complaint to commence the suit and summons. For defendants – the accused – a construction litigation lawyer may examine claims made against their client and formulate a response.
Phase #3: Discovery
Discovery during the litigation process is when relevant information between the involved parties is exchanged. Construction lawyers use this information to pinpoint potential issues they can use to build a watertight case strategy. There are several ways this information can be acquired, and they include requests for admission, depositions, requests for production, and interrogatories as well as protective orders, summary judgment motions, and motions to compel.
Phase #4: Pre-Trial
A majority of construction litigation cases may and are often resolved outside the courts. However, there are cases where the involved parties are incapable of reconciling their differences before trial. During this phase, a construction litigation attorney will close the discovery phase and start preparing for trial by providing retaining expert witnesses, providing consultation, going to pre-trial conferences and creating a trial strategy based on the evidence and facts gathered from previous phases of the litigation process.
Phase #5: Trial
During the trial phase, attorneys try to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the dispute, prepare witnesses for testimony, develop convincing arguments through the presentation of evidence and testimonies, give opening and closing statements, come up with arguments for their trial motions, and examine/cross-examine witnesses.
Phase #6: Settlement
A settlement can be reached at any point of the litigation process. Throughout a settlement, parties will conduct settlement conferences, negotiations, and alternative dispute resolution methods, a period during which materials such as settlement agreements, releases, and brochures are created.
Phase #7: Appeal
Depending on the nature of the dispute, a construction litigation attorney may recommend filing an appeal if a favorable outcome isn’t obtained after trial. In the appeal phase, the lawyer may: identify issues for appeal, draft post-trial motions, come up with appellate strategies, gather more evidence for appellate records, present arguments before appellate courts, and draft appellate documents.
Are you entangled in a construction dispute and cannot seem to reach an agreement? Now that you understand the seven phases of construction litigation and what they entail, the only thing that is left to do now is to contact a professional South Carolina construction litigation attorney for advice and representation.
Give us a call today and let us help you find closure!