I've Been Sued!!
Just because you have been sued does not mean the case necessarily has any merit. There are times when someone sues merely to get a person to the negotiating table without any real intention of going forward. That person should be careful; there are certain punishments for filing “frivolous” lawsuits. If such a lawsuit is found, the Court has the right to punish the litigant, and even the lawyer who brought the case if it finds appropriate. The litigant may get quite a surprise when he/she is held responsible for paying the victim’s New York City civil litigation attorney and/or costs of the litigation.
A defendant in a case should never underestimate the power and importance of a Counterclaim. Such a reversal of litigation focus can be real leverage against a harassing plaintiff whose case itself is weak or of low merit. Our firm often advises potential clients in certain cases to wait to be a defendant and not pursue a case on offense until he/she is sued first. Sometimes, it is the Counterclaim that can have the most merit even if it came second. Indeed, a comprehensive and well-plead counterclaim can scare a plaintiff into settling a weak claim for little or no recovery. Ultimately of course, it is the plaintiff in every case who has the first burden of proof to allow the case to proceed.
Short of cases with no merit however are defense cases with little to no proof. So, even if a litigant comes to Court with a seemingly good case on its face, he/she may not be able to go through a discovery process to show sufficient proof of damages. All cases require proof, and not just oral testimony. A case that comes to Court should have some amount of documentary proof to sustain itself through sometimes multiple years of litigation. With little to no proof, even a good case can still fail.
Just because you are a defendant, does not mean you do not have rights, nor that the case against you has any merit. And just as we prosecute our plaintiffs' cases, we aggressively defend our defendant-clients toward the goal of a dismissal or favorable settlement.
Such cases vary tremendously. Benjamin Hart, P.C. represents defendants in cases of delinquent credit card debt and similarly in car loans. We defend people in both residential and commercial mortgage debt cases. Over the years, defense in foreclosure cases has morphed into an enormous area of litigation for attorneys and even non-attorneys alike.
Other examples of cases our New York City civil litigation lawyers have handled are large disputes among business partners or other business concerns. Here, one partner sues the other for money either secretly gained or otherwise misappropriated by the other. As explained above, such cases rely heavily on documentary proof and not oral testimony. Cases that are lacking in documentary proof are at serious risk of failing long before the case ever gets to a trial calendar. A defendant can make a motion to the Court to dismiss at the beginning, the middle or the end of discovery of the case if it is clear that there is no genuine issue of fact for a jury or judge to decide. Litigation can go on for years before the suing party realizes his/her case stands on air and nothing that will sustain it in Court.
Another example of defendant-clients are those cases where one party claims it loaned or invested money with the defendant, and the defendant claims the money was a gift or a failed investment. These cases rise and fall on the existence of a written contract between the two as to the reasonable expectations of the parties at the time they contracted. Extrinsic evidence of what the parties contemplated at the beginning is of paramount importance whether or not there is a written contract.
The civil litigation attorneys at our New York City firm have vast experience in defending businesses and consumers in differing types of litigation. (212) 835-1532