Harmeet Dhillon was voted one of the Top 100 Women Lawyers in 2019, and recognized as one of Top 100 Lawyers in California in 2018 by Daily Journal.
Dhillon Law Group is proud to represent clients seeking justice in California's increasingly hostile political and human rights environment. Follow some of our latest cases on our website.
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Filing A Lawsuit
Lawsuits are seldom the first course of action people take in their attempt to resolve difficult matters, even after they have hired an attorney. In many cases, disputes can be nipped in the bud by sending an aggressive “cease and desist” letter sent from a reputable law firm, which will recite the facts leading to the disagreement, describe in detail the other side’s legal liability for their actions, and demand that the parties come to the table to reach a settlement agreement.
While often effective, these types of pre-litigation efforts do not work in every situation, and it is sometimes necessary to escalate the dispute to a lawsuit. Particularly in today’s volatile world, where basic First Amendment and other rights can be trampled by a politically-motivated group, or a person’s former romantic partner can spread harmful lies about him or her anonymously on the Internet, lawsuits can be essential tools to ensure basic protections, for individuals and businesses alike.
What Does a Lawsuit Involve?
If you and your attorney have determined that there are valid grounds on which to file a lawsuit, the first step will be to draft a formal description of the dispute and your claims (a “Complaint”), and to file it with the appropriate court, along with other case-initializing paperwork.
The appropriate court is one that has personal jurisdiction over the defendant – generally speaking, you can only sue someone where it makes sense to do so, as in where a defendant lives or does a lot of business, or where the dispute took place. In addition, the court must have subject matter jurisdiction over the dispute, and this comes into play particularly for federal lawsuits, which require that the dispute either involve a federal law, or that other specific requirements are met. An experienced litigator can help you navigate these initial procedural hurdles and choose the right court, so that the other side cannot argue that your lawsuit should be dismissed or moved to another forum.
After you have filed your Complaint, you will need to serve it on the defendant or defendants, in compliance with governing law. Once served, the defendant will have some period of time (generally, 30 days in California state court, and 21 days in federal court) to file a formal response, which can take several different forms. The simplest response is an Answer, in which the defendant will typically deny the claims you made about him/her/it, and list some defenses that the defendant intends to prove at trial.
Alternatively, the defendant could file a motion asking the court to dismiss your lawsuit (or part of it) on various grounds, including failure to state a viable legal claim, no personal jurisdiction, no subject matter jurisdiction, failure to file suit in the right court, failure to properly serve the Complaint, and other grounds. The defendant could also file a special motion to strike your Complaint, called an anti-SLAPP motion, which is a procedure under California law by which unmeritorious lawsuits that are filed mainly to chill free speech are dismissed in the early stages of a case, with the losing party to pay attorneys’ fees to the other side.
You will then have an opportunity to oppose the defendant’s motion and convince the court why your lawsuit has merit and should go forward. If you succeed, then the next stage of the case will involve taking discovery, meaning asking the other side (and third parties, as necessary) to answer questions and produce relevant documents that may help you prove your case at trial. Once both sides have the evidence they need to argue their claims, and unless settlement is reached first, the dispute will be tried, either in front of a judge (a “bench trial”) or a jury (a “jury trial”), and a judgment will be rendered in favor of one side. While the length of a lawsuit depends on many factors, you can generally expect them to take at least one year, if not two years, before final resolution.
Experienced California Litigators
The legal system is very complex, and navigating it alone can be a daunting undertaking. For those who wish to file a lawsuit, an experienced attorney can advise you on how best to proceed, ensure you have a strong case with solid legal standing, and aggressively litigate your claims in order to achieve a favorable settlement or judgment. If you’ve been served with a summons or a subpoena, the first thing to do when is to read it, then meet with an attorney to clarify what’s expected of you and what implications the lawsuit brings.
Dhillon Law Group is a top litigation firm in California, with a robust track record of zealous advocacy for our clients, whether they are plaintiffs or defendants, individuals or companies. We are experienced in litigating a broad range of disputes, including:
- Free Speech
- Defamation, including anonymous Internet defamation
- Internet Privacy
- Civil Rights
- Corporate and commercial law, including contract enforcement and theft of trade secrets
- Employment law, including sexual harassment and whistleblower cases
- Intellectual Property law
- Election and Campaign law
Dhillon Law Group attorneys are also highly experienced in anti-SLAPP motions, and have achieved success in filing and winning those motions, as well as defending our clients against meritless anti-SLAPP motions. We also routinely advise our clients who wish to file a lawsuit about whether the other side is likely to file an anti-SLAPP motion, the anticipated strength of such motion, and how to defeat it if that comes to pass.
As you seek guidance regarding a lawsuit in California, you can obtain skilled, aggressive, and responsive representation from the attorneys at Dhillon Law Group. Contact our team of attorneys today to set up a meeting.