Litigation Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Litigation, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Litigation?

(n) Litigation is a law suit filed in a court seeking a legal remedy to the question or dispute existing between the plaintiff and the defendants

History and Meaning of Litigation

Litigation is a complex legal process that involves the resolution of disputes between two or more parties in a court of law. It has been a fundamental aspect of the legal system for centuries and is often considered to be one of the most common methods of seeking legal redress in the event of a dispute.

To understand litigation, it is important to acknowledge that it is a process that typically begins with a complaint being filed in a court of law by one party, known as the plaintiff, against the other party, known as the defendant. Once a complaint is filed, the defendant has an opportunity to file an answer, and the parties then engage in a series of legal proceedings, including discovery, motions, and, if necessary, a trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge or jury will issue a verdict or decision, which can be appealed if one party is unhappy with the result.

Examples of Litigation

  1. A company is suing a former employee for breach of contract after they left to work for a competitor.
  2. A homeowners' association is facing litigation from a resident who is unhappy with the way the association is managing the property.
  3. A manufacturer is being sued by a consumer who was injured by a defective product.
  4. A person is pursuing litigation against their former landlord for failing to return their security deposit.
  5. An individual is seeking litigation against an insurance company that refused to pay out on a claim.

Legal Terms Similar to Litigation

  1. Arbitration: Similar to litigation, but the dispute is heard by an arbitrator rather than a judge or jury.
  2. Mediation: A non-binding process in which a neutral mediator works with the parties to come to a mutually agreeable resolution.
  3. Adjudication: The legal process used by administrative agencies to resolve disputes.
  4. Settlement: The resolution of a dispute between parties without going to trial.
  5. Appeal: The process by which a party that is unhappy with the outcome of a trial seeks to have the decision reviewed by a higher court.