"Defendant appeals the judgment, claiming the court erred in spectacular fashion by allowing the wrong plaintiff (standing is contested, as plaintiff is an alleged assignee of the patent owner) to sue the wrong defendant (defendant is the ultimate parent corporation of a French entity that manufactured the licensed products at issue) in the wrong court (Federal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over cases in which the plaintiff's right to relief necessarily depends on resolution of a substantial question of federal patent law." Justice Raymond J. Ikola, Applera Corporation v. MP Biomedicals, LLC (G038984, April 30, 2009).
What is Civil Litigation?
As the above quote demonstrates civil litigation can be very frustrating, challenging and a confusing enterprise for even the most experienced client. The frequent delays with the Court systems brought upon by criminal cases and juvenile cases can sometimes lead to many months or even years of uncertainty in one's life. Over 90% of civil cases are resolved prior to trial. The art and positive result of such settlements is the product of a thoroughly prepared and well seasoned attorney. Knowing one's case inside out allows one to be proactive in prosecuting or defending a case, rather than reactive. It also enables one to look each and every issue in the case squarely and to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the case.
If weaknesses outweigh the strengths, it is obvious that the case should be settled and it is hopeful that the case would be settled on an equitable basis. A well prepared attorney is able to roll with the developments and changes and maximize the result or outcome for his client. It is a truism that the law changes very rarely, but the facts as applied to the law in every case are unique.
Many civil litigants misunderstand this and believe that the law stated in its statutory or case law form should support a particular result in every case. The art and science of litigation is involved in determining the precise facts of each case, to apply the law to such facts and achieve the best possible result. This requires an open, honest assessment of each and every fact and persistent curiosity to be sure that all of the facts are known. The pitfall of many attorneys and clients is that they are not persistently curious or thorough enough to ascertain all of the facts and are thus surprised at trial time.
Lawyer's Role in Civil Litigation
A lawyer will be able to help you try and resolve your civil litigation. However, if it must proceed to court the the lawyer's craft consists primarily of persuasive storytelling. The difference is that the lawyer is not the person telling the story, other than through their questions. It is very important to allow the witnesses and particularly the client to tell their story in their words.
The lawyer assists in this respect by asking correct and helpful questions rather than telling the witness what to say. Thorough knowledge of the Rules of Evidence is also useful in a trial setting as many times things can be better shaped, framed or presented to the finder of fact if the Rules of Evidence are properly applied.
Thorough knowledge of procedural rules is incredibly important in, not only presenting the case, but making sure that the case be presented in the best light. Wyoming Supreme Court in recent times has shown a propensity to be very technical in their application of certain rules and principals, which again, are a pitfall for the unwary and unprepared.
Thorough knowledge of the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure allows one to make their way through the mine field of litigation with a set of rules and a playbook, if you will, that should reveal all of the necessary information to put together a successful result and a case for a litigant. Lastly, it is very important to preserve an appropriate record in the event of the necessity of an appeal. By properly framing objections, offers of proof and presenting evidence in a way that is unassailable, it is easier to appeal a case or defend an appeal of a case. The likelihood is much greater that the outcome will be successful if these practices have been followed.