Civil Lawsuit Lawyer Near Sylvania, Ohio

Sawan & Sawan - Local Family-Owned Sylvania Law Firm

Ohio Trial Lawyers

Hiring an experienced attorney to represent you in litigation is essential to your success. Litigation rules are complicated and if not properly followed, can affect the result. The Rules of Civil Procedure govern litigation in both state and federal courts. They are generally the same with slight modifications in each court. An experienced litigation attorney has the knowledge and experience to guide you through this process. We offer free consultation. Please contact us to discuss.

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How Civil Lawsuits Work

A lawsuit commences when a party or company (The Plaintiff) who has been allegedly wronged, files a document with the Court. Jurisdiction must be proper and the document must be served on the wrongdoer(The Defendant).

The Complaint

A complaint is a document that states the factual allegations of wrongdoing against a person or company(The Defendant). It is the first document that is filed by the alleged wronged party or company( The Plaintiff). Once filed, the Court issues a summons. It gives the Defendant a certain amount of time to file a response to the allegations stated in the complaint.

Answer, Counterclaims and Cross Claims

After the filing and summons of the complaint is served on the Defendant, she will have 28 days to respond to the alleged facts in the complaint. At that time, the Defendant can also file a counterclaim. This pleading alleges by the Defendant that the Plaintiff committed alleged wrongdoing against her. She must include the damages with her counterclaim. Depending on the facts and circumstances, there are certain rules that must be followed in filing the counterclaim. It can be part of the answer or filed separately. If there are more than one Defendant, the Defendants can file cross- claims against each other.

Default Judgment

If a Defendant does not answer the Plaintiff’s complaint within a specific time frame, the civil rules of procedure allow the plaintiff to file a default judgment action. This motion is against the Defendant and advises the court that she did not answer the complaint in a timely fashion. If granted, the court will have a damages only hearing. In some circumstances, the Defendant can file a motion to vacate, asking the court to set aside the default judgment and allow the matter to proceed to a trial.


Once the answer is filed, the discovery phase of the lawsuit begins. In this phase, the parties exchange information about the case pursuant to the Ohio Rules Of Civil Procedure. Under these rules, the parties can file admissions, interrogatories, production of documents, issue subpoenas, or schedule oral depositions. Admissions ask the opposing side to admit to certain facts while interrogatories seek general answers about the facts. Production of documents seeks documents that pertain to the lawsuit while depositions are sworn testimony discussing the facts of the case. The scope of discovery is controlled by the court, who generally gives ample time and latitude to conduct discovery. The court expects cooperation between the parties and will only get involved if there is a discovery dispute.

Motion Pleading

In lawsuits, disputes can arise. If not resolved by the parties, the court must intervene and resolve them. This is accomplished by written motion. In the motion the parties state their position and the court will rule in one party’s favor. Sometimes, the motion asks the court to dismiss the case. This motion is called a “summary judgment” motion which if granted, will end the matter. As motion writing is very strategic, an experienced civil attorney is necessary to discuss strategy.

Pre-Trial Mediation or ADR

In most lawsuits, the court will ask the parties if they would consider mediating the case. In mediation, a neutral party listens to the parties present their case and works with them to settle the matter. Mediation is both less expensive and less risky than trial.


If the parties can not agree to resolve their dispute through mediation, they will proceed to trial. The trial will be heard by either a judge or a jury. Trial is generally more expensive and stressful than mediation, but the choice is always up to the parties.
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Dennis P. Sawan

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Christopher A. Sawan


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