Attorneys for Filing Lawsuits in Columbus and Delaware, Ohio
How Does the Lawsuit Process Get Started?Filing a civil lawsuit should only been done if a resolution cannot be otherwise be worked out between you and the person or business you want to sue. If you have a civil dispute that you think cannot be resolved without resort to a lawsuit, then the process of filing a lawsuit is relatively simple - you simply need to file a Complaint in the Court. However, knowing what to write in the Complaint and knowing what Court to file the Complaint is slightly more complicated. The attorneys at Harris & Engler represent individuals and businesses with lawsuits across Central Ohio, including in Columbus (and greater Franklin County), Delaware County, Union County, and Fairfield County.
If you need an attorney to discuss whether you have good legal grounds to file a lawsuit, help with actually filing the lawsuit, or with legal representation in a lawsuit, you can talk to an attorney at Harris & Engler today by calling (614) 610-9988.
When to File a LawsuitIt is usually best to get an attorney involved in the civil dispute process as early as possible in order to build a good case and potentially resolve your legal dispute before it comes to a lawsuit. The lawyers at Harris & Engler like to try to initially get your issue resolved as cheaply and efficiently as possible. Because it can be relatively expensive to go through the civil lawsuit process, an attorney at Harris & Engler can first try to resolve your civil dispute without resort to lawsuit. Every case is different, but it is usually when you reach that crossroads where you are no longer making progress towards resolving your dispute when it may be time to get a lawyer involved to possibly file a lawsuit.
The Best Way to File a LawsuitThe best way to file a lawsuit is through an attorney. First, only an attorney can properly assess the situation and determine what laws will provide the most appropriate relief under the circumstances. Then an attorney can prepare the Complaint in such a way as to comply with the Ohio Civil Rules of Procedure, make sure that the Defendants get served with the Complaint, move the case forward, and generally do the things that need to be done to win the lawsuit.
How Much Does it Cost to File a Lawsuit?Technically, your only initial expense in filing a lawsuit is the Court filing fee. Every county has a different price for filing fees, so Franklin County and Delaware County will have different filing fee prices; but they will generally be comparable. Second, even within the same county you will have different filing fee costs depending on the court or division of that court. For example, the Franklin County Municipal Court has the regular Civil Division and the Small Claims Division. The filing fees are cheaper in the Franklin County Small Claims Division than the regular Civil Division. Next are lawsuits in the Court of Common Pleas. The Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County and Delaware County are for the high dollar lawsuits and the filing fee is a little bit more than in the Municipal Courts. The federal District Courts in Ohio also have their own filing fee costs.
There are other costs to a lawsuit, such as attorneys fees. The attorneys at Harris & Engler do their best to keep their fees reasonable and in line with the necessities of the civil dispute at stake.
Picking the Proper Court to File a Lawsuit InThere are a couple different factors that affect what Court to file the lawsuit in: Venue and Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction refers to the power of the Court to hear certain cases and venue refers to the location of the Court. For instance, the Franklin County Municipal Court does not have jurisdiction to hear federal cases because those have to be filed in federal court. Secondly, the Ohio Civil Rules of Procedure provide for where venue is proper, which generally should be where the complained of incident occurred or where the Defendant lives (with some exceptions).
Each county in Ohio will have various different courts, depending on the size of the county. In Franklin County, Ohio, there are two State courts, each with different divisions. The Franklin County Municipal Court has jurisdiction over civil cases seeking damages of up to $15,000.00. Within the Franklin County Municipal Court there is the Small Claims Division, which has jurisdiction of cases seeking damages up to $6,000.00.
The Franklin County Municipal Court, Small Claims Division, is designed to be more friendly to individuals who file their own lawsuits (pro se) without an attorney. The Small Claims Court is usually a bit more casual than the other Court divisions. Most of the time someone files their own lawsuit without an attorney it is done in the Small Claims Court. However, cases should only be filed in the Small Claims Court if the monetary damages sought in the lawsuit fit within the jurisdictional limits.
For most civil cases seeking damages exceeding $15,000.00, then they will be filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (unless it is a federal case). Delaware County has a similar court system with the Delaware County Municipal Court (and Small Claims Division) for civil lawsuits seeking $15,000 or under, and the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas for everything higher than $15,000 (unless it is a federal case).
What Law Do I Sue Under?There is perhaps no more appropriate use of a civil lawsuit lawyer than in meeting with you to discuss your case in order to advise you of all the possible different laws and causes of action that you can file your lawsuit under. Ohio has two kinds of laws: legislative enactments and case law (judicial precedent which is known as the "common law," these are the legal principles that have evolved and been decided in courts of law for hundreds of years (and even thousands of years with some original legal doctrines dating back to Roman law)). Statutory law and case law can be similar from state to state, but in Ohio, it is Ohio law that matters. Also in Ohio, the law can be different from county to county depending on the particular area of law, with each municipal legislature having some of their own unique legislative enactments, and the different appellate districts around Ohio have some different interpretations of the common law.
The civil lawsuit attorneys at Harris & Engler will meet with you and develop a strategy for your case in order to give you the most likely chance of winning your lawsuit. Usually, if you have a good case then you will have a number of different possible laws to bring your lawsuit under and only a civil lawsuit attorney can help you make the best possible strategic decisions for filing your lawsuit under the appropriate laws and ultimately succeeding with your case. The civil lawyers at Harris & Engler file lawsuits predominantly in Columbus and Delaware, Ohio, as well as greater Central Ohio.