In the complex world of litigation, having a skilled attorney by your side offers more than just a mere advantage; it can be the difference between a protracted battle and an expeditious, strategic path to resolution.
Cobb Cole has defended its clients’ interests in Civil Litigation matters for nearly a century. Since day one, our firm has created innovative litigation strategies that achieve the best possible outcomes, including alternative dispute resolution and trial. From eminent domain matters to product liability defense, we protect your interests in a variety of litigation disciplines.
When Do I Need a Florida Litigation Attorney?
Many people believe that all attorneys are litigators. However, understanding the difference between litigation and non-litigation attorneys is essential when deciding who can best represent your legal matter.
Also known as trial lawyers, litigators specialize in legal disputes that might end up in court before a judge or jury. They are responsible for the entire litigation process, from pre-trial research to discovery, motions, trials, and appeals. Cases typically involve civil lawsuits, personal injury, family law, employment matters, and any other area that requires court representation.
Litigators also specialize in negotiating settlements and are highly skilled in preparing and arguing cases.
5 Matters Cobb Cole’s Civil Litigation Attorneys Specialize In
Civil Litigation is the process of using Florida’s court system to resolve civil disputes. Unlike Criminal Litigation, where someone’s on trial for a criminal offense like assault and battery, civil matters address a broad range of issues that do not include criminal accusations. They often involve legal disputes where the parties seek monetary damages or a specific performance.
As you can see, the areas Civil Litigation covers are varied and, in some cases, you might take a criminal matter to civil court. For instance, if a business accountant embezzles funds from a company, they could be prosecuted in criminal court. Still, a later civil lawsuit could be filed to recover case-related damages.
Five areas Cobb Cole’s litigation attorneys can assist you in include:
1. Eminent Domain Matters
Eminent domain is the government’s power to take private property for public use, provided it pays the owner “just compensation.” Its underlying legal principles are based on the US Constitution and federal law, but the process is often governed by state laws. In Florida, it’s vested in the Department of Transportation (FDOT), which condemns property for the purpose of improvements like roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and more.
Fortunately, Florida law is advantageous to property owners. If the FDOT cannot prove your specific property is a necessary part of their plan, it cannot use its eminent domain powers.
If you find yourself facing a takeover of your property, an attorney specializing in eminent domain law can help assess the legitimacy and fairness of the action. They will also:
- Analyze whether the taking is genuinely for “public use” as required by Florida law.
- Conduct a thorough review of how the property’s been valued for the purpose of “just compensation.”
- Help you with pre-condemnation planning.
- Negotiate with the FDOT to ensure you receive fair compensation.
- Explore whether you’re entitled to additional monies for relocation costs.
If attempts to settle the matter are unsuccessful and it goes to court, the attorney drafts and files legal documents, gathers evidence during the discovery period, and arranges expert testimony. They will also represent you in court, presenting arguments, questioning witnesses, and making legal submissions to protect your rights.
2. Surety Bond & Mechanic’s Lien Cases
A Florida litigation attorney specializing in Construction Law, mechanic’s liens, and surety bonds provides contractors, subcontractors, owners, and sureties (guarantors) with legal services ranging from preventive advice to representation in dispute resolution and litigation.
In surety bond cases, the attorney will:
- Explain to you different types of construction surety bonds, such as payment, performance, and bid bonds.
- Evaluate the bond claim’s viability as well as the bonded party and surety’s responsibilities.
- Defend or pursue bond claims in arbitration or litigation.
- Attempt to resolve bond claim disputes through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods.
- Ensure compliance with Florida’s surety bond laws and regulations.
In mechanic’s lien cases, an attorney:
- Files a mechanic’s lien against property where work was performed but not paid for.
- Evaluates the validity of existing liens and takes steps for their enforcement.
- Defends property owners or contractors against improperly filed or unjust mechanic’s liens.
- Assists in removing an unjust or settled mechanic’s lien from public records.
- Negotiates settlements to resolve disputes outside the courtroom.
Florida has strict timelines and requirements for filing a mechanic’s lien, including a requirement that the lien be initiated within one year of it being filed. Your attorney can explain more fully how the process works.
3. Products Liability Defense
Product liability cases involve representing manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and other parties in lawsuits that allege injuries or damage caused by a defective or unsafe product. A Florida product liability defense attorney provides a range of services tailored to address the unique challenges posed by these types of cases, including:
- Assessing the merits of the claims and developing a defense strategy.
- Evaluating the potential financial and reputational risks involved.
- Counseling you on which evidence should be preserved, such as design documents, internal communications, and product samples.
If the matter appears to be headed to trial, your attorney will:
- Gather all relevant information, including product specifications, internal testing, reports, and other complaints.
- Consult with experts in the industry or sector to analyze the product and its alleged defects.
- Investigate applicable state and federal laws and case precedents to build an effective defense strategy.
- Engage in settlement negotiations to prevent a trial.
If the case does end up in court, the attorney represents you in court, including jury selection, opening statements, evidence presentation, witness examination and cross-examination, and closing arguments.
If your case is high-stakes or high-profile, your attorney might advise you on managing public relations to protect your company’s reputation.
4. Litigation of Complex Tort & Commercial Matters
Retaining a Florida litigation attorney well-versed in the intricacies of complex tort and commercial matters helps you navigate the legal system more effectively and improves your chances of a favorable outcome.
Tasks and services involved in complex tort matters typically include:
- An initial assessment involving a review of applicable law and case facts to evaluate potential liability and damages, including medical malpractice, product liability, and personal injury.
- Developing a defense strategy that includes investigating causation, liability, and the extent of claims.
- Gathering evidence, including witness statements, expert opinions, and other materials to use in defense of the claims.
- Filing motions and legal arguments to dismiss weak claims, eliminate unreliable expert testimony, and otherwise narrow issues to be decided at trial.
- Evaluating potential settlement and when appropriate negotiating with opposing parties to resolve the matter favorably without trial.
- Representing you in court proceedings, managing everything from jury selection to appeals.
If your case involves commercial matters, the attorney will:
- Review and analyze contractual obligations and rights to advise on possible legal positions on disputes like breach of contract, partnership conflicts, and intellectual property issues.
- Manage the discovery process, which in complex commercial cases is often overwhelming.
- Consult with financial experts to learn the accounting and economic issues at the heart of the dispute.
- Exploring negotiation, mediation, or arbitration as a cost-effective alternative to a court case.
- Obtain any necessary temporary restraining orders (TROs) or preliminary injunctions to protect your interests, particularly in trade secret theft or unfair competition.
Throughout your tort or complex commercial case, a civil litigation attorney will continue to provide counsel to help your organization manage its risk profile.
5. Alternative Dispute Resolution Proceedings
Litigation attorneys use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods like Mediation, Arbitration, and Collaborative Law to resolve disputes outside the Florida court system. They offer clients invaluable guidance and representation in various ways, including:
- Preparing for Mediation by identifying issues, setting objectives, and gathering necessary documents and other materials. They also facilitate settlement discussions, clarify legal and factual points, and draft and review settlement documents to ensure they’re legally binding and contain the agreed-upon terms.
- During Arbitration proceedings, a litigation attorney reviews and drafts contract arbitration clauses to ensure they’re fair, enforceable, and in your best interests. They present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make legal arguments at the Arbitration and, if the award is in your favor, assist in enforcing it. If unfavorable, they advise on whether it can be vacated or modified through legal channels.
- A voluntary process, Collaborative Law focuses on negotiation and problem-solving. Unlike traditional, frequently contentious litigation, Collaborative Law encourages the parties to work together cooperatively to reach a mutually satisfying resolution.
Depending on your case’s merits, objectives, and attributes, a hybrid resolution method that includes Mediation and Arbitration could be the best route. Your litigation attorney can explain what this entails and, if appropriate, will help you formulate an effective strategy.
Cobb Cole Litigation Attorneys: Steadfast Advocacy and Outstanding Results
With decades of combined legal experience, the litigation attorneys at Cobb Cole are perfectly positioned to deliver top Civil Litigation representation in a responsive, solution-oriented manner. Our skilled legal team has a deep knowledge of Florida’s Civil Litigation landscape that enables them to navigate state law, court procedures, and local practices with unparalleled proficiency. Whatever type of Civil Litigation matter you face, we’re committed to crafting strategic, effective solutions tailored to your unique needs and objectives.
Contact Cobb Cole today to learn how we can help bring your Civil Litigation matter to a positive conclusion.