Archives for September 2013

LITIGATION TERMS EXPLAINED

ContractRegardless of how many episodes of Boston Legal, Law and Order, or Judge Judy you may have watched, there are scores of legal terms that are often misunderstood.

In an effort to reduce confusion, it’s a good idea to review a legal glossary now and then.  Here are a few words from the legal lexicon which you should know if heading to court.

COMPLAINT – The first document filed to start most types of civil lawsuits.  It is filed by the Plaintiff.

PLAINTIFF – The party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a Complaint.

CIVIL SUMMONS – The document attached to the Complaint that is served upon you by the Plaintiff (typically by sheriff or by certified mail) that informs you of the filing of the lawsuit against you.

ANSWER – The document filed in response to the Complaint.  It is filed by the Defendant.

DEFENDANT – The party who drafts and files an Answer in response to a Complaint.

ALLEGATIONS – Factual statements made in a Complaint or an Answer that constitutes true and accurate statements of fact.

COUNTERCLAIM – The document filed by a Defendant making Allegations against a Plaintiff.  This party is called a Third-Party Plaintiff.

Motion – Typically a written request to a judge seeking a ruling of law in favor of the moving party – i.e. the Plaintiff or the Defendant.

BRIEF – A written document drafted by an attorney in support of a Motion.

TORT – A civil injury or wrong to someone’s person or property.

BREACH OF CONTRACT – A civil injury or wrong involving a party’s rights and obligations under a contract.

For help in understanding legal terms that may be relevant to you or your business, please contact Attorney Wesley Jones in Wilmington, North Carolina : 910-256-5800.  All initial phone consultations are free.

Wesley Jones is a Litigation Lawyer serving all of Southeastern North Carolina including  New Hanover County (e.g. Wilmington, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Landfall, and Mayfaire), all of Pender County (e.g. Burgaw and Topsail Beach) and all of Brunswick County (e.g. Bolivia, Southport, Ocean Isle, and Oak Island).

The Law Office of Wesley Scott Jones, P.c. on Citysearch

Avoiding Disputes Over Past Due Accounts

Avoiding Disputes over Past Due AccountsAs a Wilmington attorney for a variety of business owners and operators throughout southeastern N.C., Wesley Scott Jones has handled numerous disputes over past due notices.

For over-burdened business owners, handling past-due accounts can be a thankless, time-consuming task. That’s why so many firms choose to take action only when receivables are 90 days or more past due. This tactic may result in limiting your cash flow and profits.

In an effort to assist the parties involved before it becomes a legal issue, Wes has a few suggestions:

  • Stay on top of unpaid receivables and create a safety net in the form of a tighter credit policy.
  • Set up an accounts receivable aging report so you’ll be able to recognize non-payment patterns before thy get out of control.
  • AllBusiness.com reports that, “Studies reveal that the likelihood of collecting receivables drops drastically as time goes on-from more than 90 percent after 30 days to 74 percent after 90 days and just 50 percent after six months.” With that in mind, establish a policy that any customer 35 days past due, will receive a friendly phone call as a reminder.
  • Since missed payments can and do happen, consider working out a specific deal with a customer who’s honestly had a cash flow issue. Establish a realistic payment schedule and identify a pay-off goal day. Have it legally drafted and both parties must sign in front of witnesses. Only do this for very special cases.
  • Follow up courtesy calls by mailing past-due notices and letters by regular mail – not e-mail! Sometimes a little humor can go a long way, such as a postcard with an appropriate graphic and a message like, “Please pay your bill so I can pay mine.”  Always include a phone number in case the customer needs to explain his or her situation.

If 90 days or more have passed and you still have not received payment, it’s time to contact the office of Wesley Scott Jones: 910-256-5800. Let Wes help you recoup past due accounts in a legal manner that will deliver results.

Related Post:

Collection of Past Due Accounts

Litigation Services in Wilmington, NC

Litigation AttorneyWesley Scott Jones is a local attorney with a high degree of expertise in the multi-faceted process of litigation. As an experienced trial lawyer, Wes is able to represent plaintiffs and defendants in District, Federal, and Superior Court.

The key to attorney Jones’ success is his experience in managing all phases of the litigation process such as investigation, pleadings and discovery, pre-trial responsibilities, trial and courtroom proceedings, settlement and the appeal process.

As a litigator, attorney Jones specializes in:

Each case comes with its own unique set of circumstances, which is why Wes goes the extra mile in conducting in-depth investigations to ensure there is enough evidence to file a lawsuit. This procedure involves having a thorough interview with the client, locating witnesses, taking their statements, gathering documents, checking and re-checking the facts that resulted in the dispute. During these proceedings, it may become apparent that a pre-litigation settlement can resolve the issue before a lawsuit is even filed.

If you are considering hiring Wes as your litigator, here’s a quick look at the Basic Breakdown of the Litigation Process:

Pleadings – During this phase, the facts are reviewed prior to drafting a wide variety of pleadings and motions on behalf of the client. Formal complaints and official summons documents are also formulated at this time. Whether the client is the plaintiff or the defendant, allegations are investigated, responses are discussed, and a number of motions may be drafted including motions to strike, dismiss, amend or change venue and motions for judgment on the pleadings.

Discovery – This is when the litigation attorney gathers information and evidence that is relevant to the case. The discovery process is a vital step litigators use to find out the facts relating to the problem, identify the extenuating circumstances, and developing a strategy for how the case should proceed.

Pre-Trial – During this stage, attorney Jones will consult with and advise clients; acquire expert witnesses, attend pre-trial conferences and develop a trial strategy based on the facts and evidence. Pre-trial work also requires working with key witnesses, preparing trial exhibits, articulating arguments and pre-trial motions.

Trial – The good news is most lawsuits are settled before they come to trial. However, when cases cannot be resolved, attorney Jones is well-versed and extremely experienced in all such matters including witness and jury preparation, identifying the case’s strengths and weaknesses, using them to their fullest potential, and the art of persuasive reasoning.

Settlement – As a litigator, Wes always has the best interests of his clients in mind, which is why seeking a settlement as opposed to going to trial, is a worthy goal. Cases settled out of court usually always save both parties a great deal of time and expense. To ensure that clients are satisfied when a settlement is the solution, Wes conducts an extensive number of mediation and settlement conferences with both parties and the judge to ensure the best outcome is reached.

Appeal – When a favorable outcome is not reached, then Wes may consider appealing the case.

If you would like to meet with Wes to discuss whether or not legal action is the next step, please call the office at 910-256-5800 to set up a consultation.