In the United States litigation is the conduct of a law suit. Any trial process is preceded by the jury selection process. The plaintiff seeks a remedy and the defendant has to respond to the summons/complaint. Besides the option of going for litigation there are also alternative methods for resolution of disputes that include mediation, arbitration and different modes of negotiations.
Before the trial begins in litigation the juries from both the sides have to be selected. It is the counsel members who have to select the jury members by questioning them and knowing about their background. Either side has the right to object to the competency of a particular jury member. The final acceptance or rejection of a member is decided by the court.
Trial starts with the plaintiff addressing the jury with an opening statement that includes introduction of the evidence, witnesses etc. The burden of proof always lies with the plaintiff. During this process the jury is presented with all evidences, testimony, pictures, records, proofs etc. The plaintiff’s direct witness can be cross and recross examined by the defendant. It is the skill of the defendant’s lawyer to be able to challenge the accuracy of a witness. Once completed it is the defendant’s chance to present the case in the above manner with the counter evidence etc. After the defendant rests its case it is followed by closing arguments and case summaries from both sides.
The jury finally gets instructions about the law aspects, applicable rules and briefs them on their duty before they debate and reach a verdict. While in the federal courts verdict has to be unanimous, in the state courts a majority can reach a verdict. The total number of jury is usually 12 or even lesser. The post trial options available for the loosing party include different post trial activities like,
- Requesting for reduction of damages
- Motion against the verdict of jury
- Appeal to the State or US Supreme Court
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