Friday, October 11, 2013

Preparing for Hearings or Trial ...


Preparation is everything!
Whether you're training for the Olympics or trying to win a case in court, winners know they must exercise, prepare themselves, and be ready for the competition.

But! You will in all likelihood be required to prepare for and attend a few hearings and, if you don't master what I teach in my course, you will probably have to prepare for and enter the trial arena for a final judgment.
  • Either way, you must prepare.
All you need to know is how to use a handful of tools effectively.
  1. Proper pleadings.
  2. Evidence discovery tools.
  3. Motions and memoranda.
  4. Courtroom objections.
The best preparation begins when the case begins (whether you're a plaintiff or defendant). Here is when you memorize the "pleadings" (i.e., the allegations of the plaintiff's Complaint, the defendant's Answer and Affirmative Defenses, and the plaintiff's Reply to the defendant's Affirmative Defenses.

These are the most important documents in any case! The allegations in these initial documents tell us what the parties intend to prove, indeed what they must prove by the greater weight of admissible evidence in order to win.

Pleadings
Pleadings frame the case and tell the court what the fight is about.
 Too many people worry about too many things that have nothing whatever to do with the allegations contained in the pleadings.

Everything begins and ends with the allegations contained in the initial pleadings.
If your case goes to trial, it will those allegations in your pleadings that you'll be struggling to prove by bringing in MORE evidence in favor of your allegations than your opponent has in support of his.
Whether you're at a hearing or a full-blown jury trial, the only facts that matter are those alleged by the pleadings. Other facts may be brought in by witnesses, documents, or tangible exhibits - but the only facts necessary are those that tend to prove or disprove the allegations of the pleadings. Everthing else is a waste of time and only results in muddying the waters and giving your opponent more opportunities to confuse the judge and discredit you!

 EvidenceEvidence proves the facts alleged.
  • Now is the time to list the witnesses, documents, and tangible things you have (or can get with your 5 discovery tools explained in my course) that will tend to prove your allegations are true.
  • Now is the time to list the witnesses, documents, and tangible things you have (or can get with your 5 discovery tools explained in my course) that will tend to dis-prove the allegations of your opponent's pleadings.
Motions
Motions "move" the court to act.
  • Now is the time to move the court to take judicial notice of all facts for which the court can be forced to take judicial notice.
  • Now is the time to move the court to take judicial notice of all laws that apply to the facts of the case.
  • Now is the time to file motions in limine to prevent your opponent from bringing in extraneous or prejudicial facts at trial.
  • Now is the time to file carefully-researched memoranda in support of your motions and overall legal position.
  • Now is the time to line up your witnesses, get affidavits of their testimony before you take their depositions, and then take their depositions so you can be assured their testimony at evidentiary hearings or trial will be what your witnesses "told" you it would be.
  • Now is the time to take depositions of your opponent's witnesses, so you can undermine them and show they do not have first-hand knowledge of the facts your opponent intends to use them to present, or that they are biased, or that they are convicted felons or otherwise unreliable.
Objections
Courtroom objections put the judge on notice he will be appealed if he rules against you!
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