Litigation – FAQ’s

How often will I receive an update on the status of my case?

We frequently communicate with attorneys for an opposing side by e-mail or correspondence.  We are diligent about promptly forwarding them to you to enable you to remain abreast of recent developments.

How quickly should I respond to a lawsuit?

If you are served with a lawsuit, you should promptly seek to retain the services of an attorney.

Should I try to evade being served with a lawsuit?

Trying to avoid a process server who seeks to deliver a lawsuit to you generally does not benefit you.  Should you wish to avoid having a stranger come to your residence to serve papers on you, you can authorize us to accept service on your behalf.

Do you represent plaintiffs or defendants?

We represent both.  While the ratio fluctuates, the split for our firm is often approximately 50/50.

What are my chances of winning?

To the consternation of many, it is often difficult to quantify a party’s chances of winning because of the many variables involved.  We tell you, however, whether we believe you have a strong or weak position.

Does the court read everything filed in a case?

No.   While court files are a matter of public record, judges generally do not monitor cases by reading newly filed documents (known as pleadings).  Generally, judges only read documents filed when a motion or trial is pending before them and, then, only those pleadings which the attorneys call to their attention.

Can we get a frivolous lawsuit dismissed quickly?

It is difficult, but not impossible, to get cases dismissed quickly and summarily.  Judges like to give everyone “their day in court.”

How much will my case cost?

Because the amount of time needed to properly prepare your case can vary significantly, it is often difficult to determine how much it will cost to pursue or defend.

What is discovery?

This is a tool by which each party in a lawsuit is able to discover the facts, documents and positions which the other party holds.  Discovery often is written in the form of interrogatories and document requests and oral in the form of depositions.

Do all attorneys go to court?

No.  Many attorney never step a foot into the courthouse.  Litigation attorneys, such as Mr. Vander Wel and Mr. Yoke, however, appear before the courts frequently.

Will I recover my attorney fees at the end of my case?

In Washington, we are generally under the American rule in which a prevailing party will only recover attorney’s fees incurred if a statute or a contractual provision authorizes such an award.  It is rare for a judge to find a party’s position is frivolous, warranting an award attorney’s fees

What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?

An arbitrator will make a decision in an arbitration and it is a more formal process held in a single room.  Rather than deciding the parties’ dispute, a mediator will only facilitate negotiations and settlement discussions between the parties who often sit in separate rooms with their attorneys.

What similarities exist between arbitration and mediation?

Arbitration and mediation are methods to resolve disputes out of court, often using former judges.  We often use two organizations in Seattle which provide both.  In contrast to cases in court, you will need to pay for the services of the arbitrator or mediator.

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