HRT 240 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Expert Witness, Institute For Operations Research And The Management Sciences, Default Judgment

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Chapter 2: Legal Procedures: Journey of a Case through the Courts
Conflicts can be resolved in various ways
Lawsuits and be heard in court
Settled before or after a lawsuit is begun
In settling, the injured party may compromise and accept less than he
originally sought
A person other than a judge listens to both parties’ position and then either makes
a determination concerning the merits or assists the parties in developing a
mutually acceptable solution
Claim: demand for a remedy, usually money, to compensate for perceived wrong
Costs the owner or manager must consider
Attorney’s fee (could be hundreds of dollars an hour)
Court fees (charged for the services of the court)
Expert witness fees
Time of the employees to oversee the case
Work with the lawyer
Costs are minimized if the case is settled early
The Parties and Proof
Parties (litigants): individuals engaged in a conflict
Plaintiff: party who initiates the lawsuit
Usually has suffered an injury or loss, and believes the defendant is responsible
Defendant: party the plaintiff sues
To be successful in the lawsuit the plaintiff must prove that:
The defendant violated the law
The plaintiff suffered an injury or lass
The cause of the plaintiff’s injury or lass was the defendant’s violation of the law
Commencing the Lawsuit
A lawsuit is begun by filing a complaint and a summons
Complaint: a document issued by the plaintiff that contains allegations
Informs the defendant of the bases for the plaintiff’s claims
Consists of 3 parts:
A statement showing the jurisdiction of the court
Details about why the plaintiff is suing the defendant
A claim for relief (usually a request for money)
Allegations: unproven statements that, when combined, contribute one or more claim(s)
against the defendant
Statement of jurisdiction
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Jurisdiction: the authority of a court to hear a case
Must establish two types of jurisdiction
Subject matter jurisdiction
Subject matter jurisdiction: court’s power to decide the case of a
particular category
Example: U.S. Bankruptcy Courts have the power to decide only
cases involving bankruptcy
Determined by legislators
In personam jurisdiction
In personam jurisdiction: the authority of a court over a defendant
For a state court to have in personam jurisdiction over the
defendant, the latter must either be a resident of the state or have
significant contacts with the state
Example: a resident of New York sued a restaurant in South
Dakota, claiming that the restaurant served the New Yorker rancid
food, New York would not have in personam jurisdiction over the
restaurant because it has no contacts with the state of South Dakota
Federal jurisdiction
Federal courts have jurisdiction to hear two types of cases: lawsuits that
involve the U.S. Constitution, a federal treaty, or federal law and lawsuits
that involve a diversity of citizenship
Diversity of citizenship: the plaintiff and defendant are from
different states or one is from a different country
Federal court system
State Supreme Court (highest level appellate court) ->
Intermediate State Appellate Courts -> State Trial Courts
Basis for the claim
Complaint must explain to the defendant and the court the circumstances
comprising the plaintiff’s claim
The complaint needs to contain allegations detailing the reasons why the
plaintiff is suing
Claim for relief
Complaint must tell the defendant and the court what the plaintiff wants
from the defendant
Plaintiffs in civil cases customarily seek relief in the form of an award of
The summons
Summon: document ordering the defendant to appear and defend the allegations
made against him (served with the complaint)
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Informs the defendant of the time within which he must respond to the complaint
and the consequences of failing to do so
Service of process
Service of process: delivery of the summons and complaint to the defendant
Summons and complaint are collectively called process
If the documents are properly served and the defendant fails to provide a timely
response, the defendant loses the case by default
In such circumstances, the plaintiff is entitled to a default judgment
Default judgment: court order summarily declaring the plaintiff the winner of the
lawsuit due to the defendant’s failure to defend
Responses to the complaint
Preliminary Motions
Motion: request to a judge for relief that is made while a lawsuit is
Example: motions may consist of a request for an extension of
time, a request to clarify the allegations in the complaint, or for a
dismissal of the lawsuit because the court lacks jurisdiction
The answer
The defendant must serve an answer on the plaintiff and the court within
the permissible time period, which is defined by statute and varies from
state to state
Responses to the answer
Motions directed to the answer
Example: plaintiff may move for a definite statement if the answer is
vague, or may move to strike all or part of the defendant’s answer if the
information is redundant or immaterial
If - and only if - the answer contains a counterclaim, the plaintiff must
issue a reply
The sole purpose of this document is to relay the plaintiff’s response to the
allegations in the counterclaim
Summary judgment
The complaint, the answer, and the reply are known as pleadings
Once pleadings have been filed and all motions relating to the pleadings have
been made and ruled on by the judge, either party may make a motion for
judgment on the pleadings
Motion for summary judgment: asks the judge to decide the case in favor of the
moving party without the need for a trial
Asserts that the opposing party’s pleading has not raised any genuine issue
in the case
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