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Anatomy of a Lawsuit

Timely Insights on Laws, Issues and New Developements

Many of our clients understandably ask about the process of filing their drug case. We hear many questions repeatedly: How does my drug case work? How long does it take to file my drug case? How long before I see some money or some results?

The basic procedure works this way. Once companies receive copies of our petition informing them that we have filed a lawsuit, they have approximately 20 days to answer.  Their response is typically in a form that basically says, “We didn’t do it.  Prove it, if you can.”

The next step in the process is called discovery.  This is the time given us by the court to investigate and develop the case.  Discovery can  last from six to twelve months or longer, depending on the scope of the litigation.

One of the first steps in discovery requires  a plaintiff to answer many written questions (interrogatories) and provide several documents relevant to the lawsuit, through a formal request for production. Once we receive the interrogatories and request(s) for production of documents, we contact the plaintiff to help answer the questions and locate the relevant documents.  We  then type everything and submit the final document  to  defense.

As part of the discovery process, the plaintiff and many other key witnesses and experts will also be interviewed in person and under oath by lawyers for the defendants.  This interview under oath is called a deposition.  During the deposition, a plaintiff will be asked many of the same questions previously answered in writing, and also some new questions.

Once discovery is complete, if the Court has not yet assigned a trial date, we request one.  Prior to trial, the court may require we participate in a dispute resolution process called mediation.  If a case is not settled during mediation, we move forward to trial preparation. Though we typically handle several hundreds of cases at one time, we work every case with the assumption that it will go to trial. The litigation process  in a drug case typically takes between two and five years, depending on many factors; but it can take longer, as with the Accutane litigation which still continues after more than seven years.

Anyone with questions is urged to contact us by email.


by Matthews & Associates

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