Posts by Litigation
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Our firm’s robust litigation practice group is routinely called upon to handle a broad array of disputes on behalf of businesses, professionals and individuals throughout New England, New York and beyond. Our team of high-profile, seasoned litigators offers the experience necessary to maximize our clients’ ability to achieve successful results, be it through negotiations or a case tried to verdict. Our team of qualified paralegals and staff assist us in delivering exceptional client service.
When working with our firm’s litigators, clients gain access to the firm’s expertise across multiple disciplines and practice groups, supported by a professional back office and first rate technology. With strong local and regional ties, we are also able to call upon its network of affiliated firms world-wide giving our clients a trusted multi-jurisdictional legal presence.
- Business Litigation
- Professional Liability
- Product Liability
- Employment Litigation
- Real Estate Litigation
- Construction Litigation
- Intellectual Property Litigation
- Probate Litigation
- Torts and Personal Injury
Frequently Asked Questions
All Judges in Vermont and New Hampshire are fair and make decisions based on the facts and the law. That said, our firm has longstanding relationships with federal and state judges and the court clerks in Vermont and New Hampshire that we believe adds credibility to your case. We know our judicial audience, and how to tailor your case to each particular judge.
It depends on the case. For larger cases, our firm will use experienced associate lawyers to analyze the law, and paralegals to help gather the facts and prepare the case. Our firm’s use of qualified paraprofessionals creates a team approach that maximizes our ability to provide cost-efficient and effective representation to our clients.
Unfortunately, the courts are often back-logged and tend to move slowly. You can expect a state court case to take approximately one year to move from the filing of a complaint to a trial. The federal courts follow a tighter schedule that tends to be faster, generally taking about 8-9 months to get to trial. Both state and federal courts now require the parties to engage in mediation before going to trial and this process usually occurs about half-way through the pre-trial timeframe.
The federal courts have limited jurisdiction and a case may be commenced in federal court if one of the following applies: 1) the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and the suit is between parties from two different states; or 2) the case involves a federal question, such as a federal constitutional issue or a federal statute or regulation.
The general purpose of discovery is to uncover information from your opponent that may be used at trial. The range of discovery that each side can request of the other is very broad. Discovery can take the form of written questions, demands for documents and formal interviews of parties and witnesses. If the information sought is entirely outside of the scope of the lawsuit, objections can be made. Also, if the information sought is private or sensitive, protective orders can be implemented to prevent uncontrolled dissemination of the material. Parties to a lawsuit must be cautioned, however, that judges do not like to get involved in discovery disputes and the parties are encouraged to work out discovery disagreements amongst themselves.
As soon as you are aware that you may be involved in litigation, you have the obligation to maintain any information or data that may be pertinent to the matter. This might require you or your company to suspend normal processes to delete emails, texts or older files. If any information is destroyed, even inadvertently, you may find yourself subject to sanctions including an instruction from the judge to a jury that the destroyed information was likely to be adverse to your case.
Though every case is unique and tends to follow its own path based upon the circumstances, there are general stages to litigation that most cases follow: 1) the plaintiff initiates the case by filing suit; 2) the defendant(s) answers or move to dismiss (and may also bring a counterclaim or involve third parties who it believes ought to be involved as well); 3) the parties engage in discovery; 4) the parties attempt to resolve the case short of trial through mediation (mandatory for most civil actions in some states, like New Hampshire); 5) trial; and 6) appeal.
As the name implies, these are alternatives to a full-blown civil trial and include mediation and arbitration. If the parties have previously agreed to proceed to arbitration in lieu of a trial (as is becoming more common in consumer agreements and is often the case in construction or business contracts), or if they agree to resolve a dispute through arbitration once that dispute emerges, the parties will select an arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators) and will be heard by that individual (or those individuals) instead of by a judge or jury. Parties often elect to resolve disputes through arbitration in an effort to keep the matter confidential since, unlike in disputes heard in court, there is no public record of an arbitration. The decisions of an arbitrator can, in most cases, be enforced by a judge if necessary. Mediation is a less adversarial process in which the parties work with a neutral third-party to settle their case or at least narrow their differences. The results of mediation can also be confidential, which is often important to at least one of the parties involved.
Yes, the law sets strict statutes of limitations or statutes of repose on civil actions. The applicable deadline depends on the type of case you are trying to pursue and, sometimes, on the party that you are trying to sue (there are, for example, often drastically shorter limitations periods if you are trying to sue a municipality of state and may also be different notice requirements). Though there are exceptions, these deadlines are strictly enforced and if you fail to file your claim in a timely manner, you may permanently lose your right to pursue potentially available remedies.