Presentation on theme: "Business Law I Courts, Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution."— Presentation transcript:
1 Business Law ICourts, Litigation& AlternativeDispute Resolution
2 Federal CourtsTwo kinds of civil lawsuits permitted in Federal Courts -Federal Question CasesA claim based on the United States Constitution, a federal statute, or a federal treatyDiversity CasesWhen the plaintiff and defendant are citizens of two different states, ANDthe amount in dispute is greater than $75,000
3 Federal Court System Trial Courts Appellate Courts United States District Courts are the primary trial courts in the federal system.The nation is divided into about 94 districts (based on population), each with its own District Court.There are also specialized trial courts, such as Bankruptcy Court and Tax Court.Appellate CourtsUnited States Courts of Appeals are the intermediate courts of appeals. The nation is divided into thirteen circuits.The highest appeals court is the United States Supreme Court.
4 (Highest Appeals Court) The Federal Court SystemUnited States SupremeCourt(Highest Appeals Court)Nine Justices; appointed for life; may refuse to hear a case; final authorityU.S. Court of Appeals for theFederal CircuitU.S. CourtOf Appeals(12 Circuits)Lower Appeals CourtsThree judges hear each case, brought up from the District Courts.Hears appeals from specialized trial courts.U.S.TaxCourtsU.S. District(94 Districts)BankruptcyVariousFederalAgenciesPrimary Trial CourtTrial Courts of Limited (Specific) JurisdictionU.S. Court ofInternationalTradeU.S.Court ofClaimsU.S. Patent& TrademarkOfficeTrial Courts of Limited (Specific) Jurisdiction
5 Geographic Boundaries of United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts DCFed
6 Federal Forums of Limited (Specific) Jurisdiction Bankruptcy Court, Tax Court, Court of International Trade, Patent and Trademark Court - These trial courts in the federal system hear cases appropriate to their names (tax cases in the Tax Court, etc.) Appeals from the Bankruptcy and Tax Courts are heard by the Court of Appeals in the appropriate circuit. Appeals from the Court of International Trade and the Patent & Trademark Court are heard by the Court of Appeals in the Federal Circuit.U.S. Court of Claims - Hears cases brought against the United States, typically on contract disputes.Various Federal Agencies - Though not actually a part of the Judicial Branch of the Federal government, many Federal agencies have the power to create and enforce appropriate regulations.
7 State Court System Trial Courts Appellate Courts Almost all cases begin in trial courts, with a judge and usually a jury.Trial courts determine the facts of a particular dispute and apply the law to those facts.Courts can only hear cases under their jurisdiction.Appellate CourtsAppeal courts generally accept the facts given to them by trial courts and just review the trial record to see if the court made any errors of law.The highest appeals court in a state is the state Supreme Court.
8 Massachusetts Court System Trial CourtsDistrict Courts and the Boston Municipal Courts are the primary trial courts that handle civil cases <$25,000 and criminal cases where the penalty is <5 years.Superior Courts are the primary trial courts that handle civil cases >$25,000 and criminal cases where the penalty is >5 years. There are 14 Superior Courts whose jurisdictions are divided by county.There are also specialized trial courts, such as Small Claims Courts and Traffic Courts.Appellate CourtsThe Massachusetts Appeals Court is the intermediate courts of appeals.The highest appeals court is the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
9 The Massachusetts Court System Supreme JudicialCourt(Highest Appeals Court)Five Justices sit en banc; may refuse to hear a case; final authorityMassachusettsAppeals Court(Lower Appeals Court)Three Justices sit en banc; never a jurySuperiorCourtsDistrictBostonMunicipalCourtProbate& FamilyHousingLandJuvenileTrafficCourtsSmallClaimsTrial Courts of General JurisdictionOne judge; may have juryTrial Courts of Limited (Specific) Jurisdiction
10 Geographic Boundaries of Massachusetts Trial Courts
11 Massachusetts Courts of Limited (Specific) Jurisdiction Small Claims Courts – Hear only civil suits under $2,000Traffic Courts – Hear only traffic casesJuvenile Courts – Hear only cases involving minorsLand Courts – Hear land and real property disputesProbate Courts – Settle estates of deceased personsFamily Courts – Handle marital and child custody issuesHousing Courts – Handle landlord/tenant disputes
12 Litigation vs. Alternative Dispute Resolution Litigation -- refers to lawsuits; the process of filing claims in court, and ultimately going to trial.Alternative Dispute Resolution -- is any other formal or informal process for settling disputes without going to trial.
13 Alternative Dispute Resolution (most common forms) NegotiationParties make offers and counter-offers for settlements.May be face-to-face or through lawyers.MediationNeutral person (mediator) attempts to get parties to reach a voluntary settlement.Mediator does not render a decision.ArbitrationNeutral person (arbitrator) is involved.Arbitrator often has expertise in area of dispute.Arbitrator renders a binding decision.Arbitration may be mandatory, if chosen in advance as the method for dispute resolution.
14 Alternative Dispute Resolution (less common forms) ForumDecision MakerAdvantagesConductorMinitrialExecutives of disputing companiesCompanies are more likely to settle.Neutral third partySummary Jury TrialSix-member mock juryDisputants are more likely to settle.Judge or magistratePrivate Judge(Judge Judy)Hired judgeCircumstances are like trial, but without a waiting period.
16 Steps in Beginning Litigation Pleadings: Papers that begin a lawsuit1. ComplaintShort, plain statement of the allegations and the legal claims. This is “served” or delivered with a summons.2. AnswerA brief reply to the allegations.3. Counter ClaimSometimes the accused party will initiate a second suit in response to the first.4. ReplyA brief reply to the counter-claim.
17 Possible Variations on Pleadings Class ActionsIf the plaintiff has evidence that the wrong in question has affected a large number of unrelated persons, the suit may become a class-action suit, with the plaintiff representing an entire class of plaintiffs.Default JudgmentIf the defendant fails to answer in time, the plaintiff will ask for a default judgment, meaning an automatic win without a trial.
19 Discovery -- next step after pleadings Allows both sides to uncover evidence, encouraging a settlement or ensuring few surprises during a trial.Interrogatories -- written questions that the other party must answer, under oathDepositions -- interview (under oath) of other party or potential witnesses; done by opposing lawyerProduction of Evidence -- each side may request to see the other side’s evidencePhysical or Mental Exams -- one party may request the court to order an examination of the other party if relevant
20 Discovery (cont’d)Sometimes the results from interrogatories and depositions will cause one side or the other to file a motion in response.Motion to compel answers to interrogatories – may be made if one side thinks the other has not adequately answered interrogatoriesMotion for protective order – is a request to the court that the other side be made to reduce the number of depositions.
21 Case Analysis Motion to Strike Stinton v. Robin’s Wood, Inc., 45 A.D. 3d, 842 NYS2d 477, New York App. Div., 2007FactsIssueDecisionReasoning
22 Other Steps Before Trial Summary Judgment -- a ruling by the court that no trial is necessary because there are no essential facts in dispute; may be requested by either side.Final Preparation -- if the case is to proceed to trial, both sides make a list of witnesses and rehearse questions with their own witnesses. Preparation is allowed, but telling the witnesses how to answer is not legal or ethical.
23 Case Analysis Motion for Summary Judgment Jones v. Clinton, 990 F. Supp. 657, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3902, United States District Court for the District of Arkansas,FactsIssueDecisionReasoning
24 Adversary SystemThe adversary system presumes that the truth will be found if lawyers are allowed to question witnesses for both sides.Both the plaintiff and the defendant have the right to request a jury trial, but only in those criminal cases which may result in the death penalty or incarceration for a period of greater than six months is there an absolute right to a jury trial.
25 Procedural Rules for a Trial Burden of ProofThe plaintiff must convince the jury that its version of the case is correct.In a civil case, the proof needs to be by a preponderance of evidence (meaning at least slightly more likely to be true).In a criminal case, the proof required is higher; it must be beyond a reasonable doubt.
26 The Plaintiff’s Case Opening Arguments Plaintiff Calls Witnesses This is a brief summary, given by each side, of the facts they hope to demonstrate.Plaintiff Calls WitnessesQuestions to own witnesses is direct examination.Lawyer only asks questions with helpful answers.Defendant Questions WitnessesQuestions to opposing witnesses is cross examination.Again, lawyer asks questions with helpful answers.Defendant Moves for Directed VerdictThis is asking the judge to decide that the plaintiff has no case worth proceeding with.
27 The Defendant’s Case Opening Arguments Defendant Calls Witnesses Defendant’s opening arguments were presented earlier, before the plaintiff presented its case.Defendant Calls WitnessesQuestions to own witnesses is direct examination.Lawyer only asks questions with helpful answers.Plaintiff Questions WitnessesQuestions to opposing witnesses is cross examination.Again, lawyer asks questions with helpful answers.Closing ArgumentsBrief summary, by both sides, urging the jury to believe their side of the case.
28 After Both Sides Rest (Finish) Jury InstructionsThe judge instructs the jury to evaluate the case solely on the facts of the evidence presented.If the case is influenced by a certain legal presumption, the judge will summarize that for the jury.Deliberation and VerdictThe jury discusses the case for as long as needed (anywhere from less than an hour to several weeks).Sometimes the jury must be unanimous; other times only a majority (at least 7) or a 10-2 vote is required.
29 The Trial is Over… or is it? Motions after the VerdictThe loser might request the judge to overturn the verdict on a legal technicality or on a claim that the jury ignored the evidence.AppealThe recourse for the loser is to file an appeal, a request for a higher court to examine the facts.The appeals court may affirm the verdict, modify the award, reverse and remand (send it back to trial) or simply reverse (overturn) the lower court’s verdict.SettlementAt any point, either side may offer to settle the case, even between the verdict and the beginning of an appeal.
30 Quiz Matching Questions ArbitrationDiversity JurisdictionMediationInterrogatoriesDeposition1. A pretrial procedure involving written questions to be signed under oath.2. A form of ADR in which the parties themselves craft the settlement.3. A pretrial procedure involving oral questions answered under oath.4. The power of a federal court to hear certain cases between citizens of different states.5. A form of ADR that leads to a binding decision.
31 Quiz True/False Questions One advantage of arbitration is that it provides the parties with greater opportunities for discovery than litigation does.In the United States there are many separate courts, but only one court system, organized as a pyramid.If we are listening to witnesses testify, we must be in a trial court.About one-half of all lawsuits settle before trial.In a lawsuit for money damages, bot the plaintiff and the defendant are generally entitled to a jury.FTFF
32 End of Courts, Litigation, & Alternative Dispute Resolution
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