1. What types of cases does your firm handle?
Our firm handles a wide variety of litigation in northeastern Pennsylvania in both federal and state courts. Our practice areas include personal injury litigation, products liability, complex commercial litigation, land use cases, and federal litigation. We also have a significant appellate practice and our attorneys appear on a regular basis in the Pennsylvania and Federal appellate courts.
2. Who pays the expenses of litigation?
As a general rule, each party is responsible for his own court costs and attorneys' fees. There are exceptions to this general rule where the parties have entered into a contract that permits the recovery of attorneys' fees or if a statute authorizes their recovery. Courts may also award attorneys' fees in cases where a party has pursued a claim that has no merit and has been declared to be frivolous.
3. How long will the lawsuit take?
This varies upon the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved, whether the parties are willing to make a reasonable settlement and how busy the Court is. A very simple case with few legal or factual issues could take a matter of months whereas a complex case involving pretrial motions and appeals could take years.
4. Where will my case be heard?
In general, most litigation concerning matters arising in Monroe County will be handled in the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas at the Courthouse in Stroudsburg. However, Pennsylvania permits smaller claims of no more than $8,000 to be filed in the District Justice Courts. These are cases which are often handled without an attorney and which give the losing party the right to appeal and have the case heard again in the Common Pleas Court. In cases filed between residents of different states where the amount in controversy is at least $75,000, the case may be filed in Federal Court. The Federal Courts also have jurisdiction over cases in which federal laws are at issue.
5. Do I have a right to appeal if I am unsatisfied with the result?
An appeal is generally an option in most cases but filing an appeal does not usually mean a second trial. In appeals from Common Pleas Courts' decisions, the appeals court decides if there was a proper legal basis for the trial Court's decision. Where the trial judge decided that a particular witness was not believable, the appeals court will not reverse this finding because the trial judge was in the presence of the witness and was in the best position to judge the witness's demeanor and credibility.
6. Is there an alternative to filing suit?
Mediating disputes is becoming more prevalent as a cost-effective way of settling disputes. Mediation programs are now in place in many state and federal courts. In some of these courts, a mediator may be appointed without charge. In other cases, the parties may share the costs of the mediator. If both parties desire mediation and their respective positions are reasonable, this may be an effective option for settling a dispute in private and at much lower cost than traditional lawsuits.
7. How much are your fees?
This varies upon the type of case. Personal injury cases are typically handled on a contingent basis. This means that you pay attorneys' fees only if we obtain money for you. Our fee will be a percentage of the total recovery. Hourly fees are charged in other types of litigation.