Civil Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Disagreements Happen and Not Everyone Can “Agree to Disagree” and Move On

Chuck’s practice focuses on helping his clients reach mutually agreeable solutions through negotiations between the people in dispute. If needed, mediation logically follows bi-lateral negotiations that impasse. But resolution does not always happen. Some parties and/or attorneys prefer to fight at all cost, seeking revenge instead of resolution. Some believe their case is a “sure 100% winner” in court, want vindication, want justice or want to teach the other side a lesson. Or prevent “this” from happening to somebody else.

Resolution Sought Through the Courts

CourtWhen parties in dispute cannot resolve and just “move on”, as a matter of good sense (and the law) they can turn to the courts for resolution. Civil litigation is the process where two or more parties seek money damages or specific performance for breaches of legal duties owed by and to parties. It is a distinctly different process than criminal litigation.

Lawyers who practice civil litigation represent parties in disputes, negotiations, trials, hearings, arbitrations, and before state, local and federal courts, as well as administrative and other governmental agencies. The typical steps of a lawsuit or other proceeding (pleadings, discovery, trial and possible appeal) can be quite time consuming and expensive. The process can last from several months to several years, depending upon the complexity and court’s calendar. Hourly-based legal fees and costs to litigate rarely cost less than between $30,000 $50,000 on the very low side and can exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars for complex disputes. The fact is that the vast majority of civil cases settle before they ever go to trial (whether jury or non-jury Judge trial) simply because settlement most of the time makes sense economically—the pain of shelling out money month after month to prosecute or defend a civil lawsuit becomes a game-changer.

Settlement Out-of-Court, Preparing for Trial & Going to Trial: The Simple Math

The math is really very simple—a little addition and a little subtraction.

For defendants, those being sued: You want this number to be the smallest:

● Fees paid to your defense lawyer; plus

● Court costs and expert witness fees; plus

●Value of your time and your company’s time devoted to lawsuit; plus

● Value of the “negative emotion” cost of being involved in a lawsuit; plus

● Price of compromise settlement paid to the plaintiff to resolve the lawsuit.

Versus: ● Price of a 100% verdict in your favor, a “defense verdict”?

Versus: ● Price of a verdict in plaintiff’s favor, a “plaintiff’s verdict”?

Defendants, please understand that you will always pay to extract yourself from this lawsuit. The question for you is how much on the “front end” do you invest to minimize the total expenditure?

For plaintiffs—those prosecuting lawsuits against another person: You want the number to be the largest:

Amount paid by defendants in settlement or after trial (and appeal?) and no bankruptcy or insolvency by the defendant; less all of the below

● Fees paid to lawyer;

● Costs reimbursed the lawyer (Court filing fees; process server fees; court reporter fees; deposition related fees, etc.;

● Expert witness fees;

● Value of your time and your company’s time devoted to lawsuit;

● Value of the “negative emotion” cost of being involved in a lawsuit.

Plaintiffs, you will always end up with way, way less than you think you deserve. Of course that is true! Any lawyer who tells you otherwise is blowing smoke.

As a plaintiff, your biggest challenges are not to get too greedy and if you can don’t motivate the defendant to act irrationally trying to defeat you, his opponent.

Considering the Potential of Compromise Settlement Makes Sense At All Times—So Long As the Settlement Achieved Is Reasonable And Mutually Agreeable

Whether Chuck is preparing and filing your plaintiff’s lawsuit or defending you in a lawsuit filed against you, the potential to negotiate an out-of-court settlement will always be on the radar screens, the client’s and Chuck’s. Throughout the pleadings and discovery processes facts are revealed, personalities are assessed, the law is analyzed in depth and applied to developing legal theories of recovery and defense, strategies are implemented, and new options for resolution are created by good planning. Chuck excels in finding out-of-the-box solutions by applying his in-depth knowledge of substantive and procedural law, his excellent written and oral advocacy skills, his ability to analyze and synthesize complex facts and law, utilize state-of-the art legal software, and negotiate resolution, as only an experienced transaction lawyer can do.

Timely Teamwork Essential to SuccessAdvocate

Together, you and Chuck will develop a litigation strategy that meets your tolerance for risks, overall objectives and ability to pay for the strategy.  Litigation is a dance that requires quick steps, timely responses and effective two-way communication. As the client, you provide the facts, the evidence/documents, share information and respond to requests quickly and accurately.  And, don’t forget resilience. Litigation can get ugly and requires the ability to bounce back, in a rational state, despite adversity. Chuck will be there to explain the legal issues, the legal process, strategize options with you and explore the pros and cons of each. Chuck will have your back. He will be your advocate.

Chuck handles litigation disputes involving real estate, business and employment, specifically including:

  • Easement Disputes
  • Business Breakups
  • Real Property Purchase and Sale Disputes
  • Commercial Lease Disputes
  • Complex Receivable Collections
  • Options Disputes
  • Employment Disputes
  • CEQA
  • Probate/Trust Litigation

Chuck does not take contingency fee cases, personal injury cases nor family law matters (divorce, separation, custody), unless such matters involve business or real estate disputes. Chuck bills clients on an hourly basis and requires a written engagement agreement—not an “earned retainer agreement”. Chuck’s standard engagement agreement is short, understandable and balanced—setting forth in plain English rights and obligations of the client and attorney.

Remember, it pays to hire a lawyer sooner rather than later.  Many disputes can be effectively handled before they escalate into full blown litigation.

Call Chuck Farrar at 530.273.0800 to schedule an appointment if you have a legal dispute that needs resolution and want an experienced lawyer on your team.