You Got Served! What to do after you receive notice that you have been sued.

By. Derek J. Connor

What Does it Mean to be “Served”

Getting “served”, at least in a legal context, means receiving formal notice that a lawsuit has been filed against you or your business. Typically, formal service of process entails the individual or business being personally served with a copy of a summons and complaint notifying them the lawsuit. If personal service cannot be completed for some reason other forms of service are permitted such as, service by mail or publication in a local newspaper. Getting served with notice that you or your business is getting sued can be stressful, but knowing what to do next is crucial to protecting your rights moving forward.

What to Do After Being Served

When you are served, the first step is to read the documents very carefully so you can understand what type of case is pending against you and where you are being sued. If you have questions regarding the documents, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Different courts and jurisdictions have different rules regarding the time and manner that you are allowed to file your formal response to a lawsuit. Most jurisdictions allow between 20 and 30 days to respond. If you fail to respond in time, you could face serious legal consequences, including having a judgment entered against you.

Depending on the type of lawsuit, you may need to notify your relevant insurance company. For example, if the lawsuit involves a car accident you should notify your car insurance company immediately. Failure to promptly notify your insurance company could have serious consequences, as many insurance policies require the policyholder to notify the insurer of notice of a claim within a certain time period. Many insurance policies will only provide coverage or defense of a claim if they are notified within 30 days of the insured receiving actual notice of a claim. If you have insurance liability coverage for the type of lawsuit filed against you or your business, your insurer should hire an attorney who will file an answer on your behalf. If you are unsure about coverage, you should consult with an attorney.

What If I Don’t Have Insurance Coverage?

Unfortunately many claims are not covered by insurance. For example, many businesses simply do not have insurance coverage for breach of contract claims. If you do not have insurance coverage for a particular claim, you will probably want to hire an attorney to review the complaint and file an answer on your behalf. Having a competent attorney review your complaint can be critical to preserving your legal rights. Failure to timely answer a complaint, or to raise any potential counterclaims against the plaintiff could cost you your opportunity to assert such counterclaims. A skilled litigator may even be able to have the case dismissed for a variety of reasons such as lack of jurisdiction or expiration of the statue of limitations.

The attorneys at Connor & Connor PLLC are experienced litigators who are ready to defend you or your company against lawsuits in Nevada. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in Nevada state and federal courts. If you have been served with notice of a lawsuit, please contact us as soon as possible for a consultation.

 

Free Speech

The ability to speak freely without fear of retribution is one of our nation’s founding principles. The founders of our nation believed so strongly in the right to free speech that they included the right to freedom of expression in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, our right to free speech is not unlimited. The classic example used to show the limitation on our right to free speech, is that you cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater. Your right to free speech is also restricted when it comes to making damaging or untrue statements about someone to a third party. The Internet has given individuals the ability to communicate with millions of people across the world in an instant. While the Internet has helped improve communication between people, it has also brought with it the ability to slander or defame people in front of millions, often times with complete anonymity. However, persons should be aware that making damaging and untrue statements about a person can expose the person making those statements to potential criminal charges, civil law suits, and significant costs.

Libel Laws

In Nevada, these types of crimes, —also known as defamation or slander— fall under “libel.” NRS 200.510 defines libel as “malicious defamation, expressed by printing, writing, signs, pictures or the like, tending to blacken the memory of the dead, or to impeach the honesty, integrity, virtue, or reputation, or to publish the natural defects of a living person or persons, or community of persons, or association of persons, and thereby to expose them to public hatred, contempt or ridicule.” Under the law, those criminally convicted are guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Different Forms of Libel

Libel can come in different forms. As you can see from the statute, the law covers a broad range of areas, like print, signs, and pictures. Suits typically arise from published statements that are false yet widely circulated to cause damage to a reputation. Nowadays, many of these published statements are found on the Internet. While the Internet poses new problems with the law, false statements on the web are still subjected to the law. While libel suits can also arise from oral statements, those are less likely to survive court. Libel can also come from different actors. For example, those who make the false and malicious statements are obviously liable. Even if that person does not publish the information but instead tells a publisher or editor libelous statements, the mere transmittance of those statements can impose liability. However, the editor and publisher (whether a person or corporation) can also be liable if the victim can show there was knowledge of the false statements. Additionally, one who threatens another with publication of libelous statements can also be liable and found guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Proving Defamation

Proving defamation can be difficult. In Nevada, libel is a question of fact often left to a jury. Weighing the evidence, the jury may find the statements true and published in good faith. If so, the party can be acquitted. Filing a civil suit is typically a better bet. Under the civil statutes, NRS 41.332, the victim still must show actual malice, meaning the defendant’s state of mind arose from “hatred or ill will toward the plaintiff and does not include that state of mind occasioned by a good faith belief in the truth of the publication or broadcast.”

Penalties for Libel

There are various penalties involved for those who communicate libelous messages. Criminally, the offender could face up to a year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. In a civil suit, the harmed party can also acquire exemplary, general, and/or special damages. The monetary damages are to offset the costs the harmed party suffered as a result of the libelous statements. The three types of damages are different: exemplary damages are used to set an example and punish the defendant. General damages are damages for loss reputation, shame, and hurt feelings. Special damages are damages for anything lost in regards to the victim’s property, business, or profession. The Court can also order the defendant to print a retraction and correct the false statements. While it may be hard to “un-ring the bell” of untrue statements in the press, imposing monetary damages help deter people from making libelous statements and/or severely punish those who do.

Slander, libel, and defamation are serious issues that should not be taken lightly. If you have been the victim of libelous statements, contact our firm today to discuss your rights. Connor & Connor PLLC, (702) 750-9139 or email us at info@connorpllc.com

 

Civil litigation is one of the most common forms of lawsuit in courts across the country. When two parties are at an impasse and cannot reach a conclusion, the end result is generally a civil litigation suit. However, civil litigation is actually a much broader category than you might think, and is actually comprised of multiple different types of cases, all of which have their specific difficulties. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common forms of civil litigation, and find out why you need a trusted civil litigation attorney when you’re considering filing a suit.

Cases Involving Broken Contracts

When two or more people sign a contract, the terms of said contract are nearly iron clad. Unfortunately, with no regards to the legality, contracts are routinely broken, usually causing harm to one or more parties. In civil litigation law, this is known as a breach of contract, and it is one of the most common forms of civil litigation case. Breach of contract constitutes of any action that does not live up to the terms of the contract, whether intentionally or not. If you’ve suffered some sort of damage from a breach of contract, then you have the opportunity to file a civil litigation lawsuit.

Workplace Disputes

The second most common type of civil litigation lawsuit is centered around workplace disputes. Generally speaking, work related civil lawsuits involve employees suing their former employers for mistreatment. Some of the most common causes of an employment based civil suit are wrongful termination, an employee forced to work without a written contract and an employee that has misrepresented their background and committed a workplace violation. In fact, employment civil lawsuits are so common that many law firms specialize in this specific form of litigation. If you believe you have a case against your employer or employee, you should consult a civil litigation attorney with experience in employment suits.

Personal Injury Cases

Finally, the type of civil litigation that most people are familiar with is personal injury cases. Personal injury cases are lawsuits when one person is wrongfully injured by the action, or sometimes inaction, of a person or a company. The most typical type of personal injury lawsuit involves car accidents, but they can also involve workplace injuries, defective products or claims of negligence. When you’re seeking an attorney to represent you in a personal injury suit, it’s important that you are very cautious, because unscrupulous attorneys often pursue these types of cases.

Hire a Civil Litigation Attorney for Your Case

No matter the type of civil litigation lawsuit you find yourself in, it can be one of the most trying times you can experience. To make the whole process of your suit easier, you need the type of expert legal help most conducive to civil lawsuits. Finding a civil litigation attorney that will handle your case the way you deserve is as easy as contacting the expert legal team at Connor & Connor, PLLC. Whatever type of civil lawsuit you are engaged in, we can work for you so that you get the outcome you deserve and can move on with your life. Contact Connor & Connor today so that we can start working for you.