Updated: Oct 8
Is court a necessary evil? Maybe. But does that mean we have to like it?--Absolutely not!
I have yet to meet someone that absolutely revels in the idea of a contentious no-holds-barred court battle! But Ruben, you're probably muttering, I've watched live court TV, read newspapers, and have even watched My Cousin Vinny (great movie by the way); I know to a mathematical certainty that lawyers love to argue and people are naturally litigious.
Look, a broken clock is right twice a day, but does that mean you should use it for telling time? Of course not.
Listen, there are always going to be people that just want to see others squirm, like penguins under a heat lamp, or me when asked, "how I'm feeling today;" BUT
by all measures and metrics, this is not the norm ladies and gentlemen.
For most of us, we'd like to resolve our issues as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
So how do we?--
That's the million dollar question right?
The answers to your prayers
Below are 3-battle tested ways to getting what you want while avoiding full blown court:
Getting what you want usually boils down to how effectively you can work with the other side; it's just that simple. Communication skills, actively listening, compromise, these all play a big role in avoiding costly litigation.
Because as the old saying goes, litigation benefits attorneys, not parties.
So the next time you find yourself in a pickle and the itch to litigate starts to pulse up, think about the heartache you can save yourself if you just exercise a little diplomacy.
(2). FORMAL DEMAND LETTER
If diplomacy doesn't work then you're next step should be a demand letter; specifically, an attorney demand letter.
Why? Because like a heavyweight, it packs a PUNCH!
Look--when you open up a letter and BAM its on an attorney letterhead, it does something.
You know, like in a "this sh** is serious type of way!"
The best part is, that for a fraction of what it would cost to file a lawsuit, hire an attorney, etc., you can resolve your issue and still have money left over in your pocket.
How's that for financial planning?
So the next time you're feeling litigious, ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?"--kidding, no what you should ask is, "what is my objective?"--and if it happens to be, settle this as quickly and painlessly as possible, then by all means you should consider a formal demand letter.
(3). SMALL CLAIMS COURT
I know I said you wouldn't have to go to court and your probably screaming bloody murder right about now, but HEAR me out.
Yes, obviously small claims court is not exactly avoiding the whole going to court thing, but, and this is a BIG but; it is a watered down and dare I say more collegial process.
There I said it!--
now I'm going to give you the reasons why:
Reason No. 1:
Filing a small claims case is cheap; no seriously like between $50 and $100 bucks cheap; whereas filing a civil case (i.e. anything that is not small claims, criminal, etc.) is going to cost you in the mid-four hundred dollar range, and that's just the initial filing fee...YIKES.
Reason No. 2:
Smalls claims doesn't allow attorneys to represent YOU in court. This means its going to be "mano a mano,""you versus them;" and gosh darn it, my money is on you!
Reason No. 3:
Civil cases are complicated. There's all kinds of rules and procedure that make it a huge headache, even for attorneys.
On the other hand, small claims is simple, straightforward; created with the layperson in mind.
Reason No. 4:
You don't have to be the smartest person in the room to win your case; you just have to be right, and show that you are; easier said then done--yes, but again, my money is on you.
Reason No. 5:
The PSYCHOLOGICAL impact! Look, if the person or company your having an issue with knows they are in the wrong and that you went to the trouble of suing them, then they're likely going to capitulate; not always, but sometimes. But even if they don't, you have their attention now!-- Which means a settlement is likely around the corner.
Whatever you decide, remember this; it never pays to dive head first into a lawsuit; at least not when there are better alternatives out there.
Till next time my wide-eyed wanderers, scalawags, and learned pupils.
DISCLAIMER: this blog is not a substitute for sound legal advice. Every situation is different and what might work for someone else might not work for you. Please keep this in mind if deferring to any of the methods described above, and know that in no way shape or form, does this blog constitute legal