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How Should I Prepare for a Business Lawsuit in Oklahoma?

Posted by Jonathan Krems | Apr 25, 2024 | 0 Comments

In today's Freedom Friday blog and email newsletter, I want to continue answering frequent questions related to last week's blog article.  Last week I answered, “How should I approach a breach of contract lawsuit?”  That article addressed how you should approach a breach of contract lawsuit, expectations, and possible resolutions.  This week I'm answering a related question, and that's “How should I prepare for a business lawsuit in Oklahoma?”  It seems all the time my clients who are involved in litigation (either because they've been sued, or because they want to sue), not only do they ask about expectations, but they ask about preparation as well.  So, in today's Freedom Friday blog and email newsletter, I'm answering the question, “How should I prepare for a business lawsuit in Oklahoma?”

Before answering this question, it's important to understand some basics of the litigation process in Oklahoma.  A lawsuit (in state court) is started by filing a petition (also called a complaint in federal court).  Once the defendant is served (that's the party who was sued), they have twenty (20) days to file an “answer” which is a written response to the lawsuit.  After the answer is filed, the lawsuit begins the “discovery” phase, which is when the parties have the opportunity to send written sets of questions to the other which must be answered in a limited time.  It's this “discovery” process that most small businesses want to know about when they ask how to prepare for a business lawsuit.  There are three different aspects of the discovery process which you need to prepare for in a business lawsuit in Oklahoma:

1.  Written Discovery

The first aspect of the discovery process which you need to prepare for in a business lawsuit in Oklahoma is written discovery.  At the beginning of the discovery process, each party will desire to serve a written discovery package on the other party.  There are three (3) parts to this package: (1) requests for admissions, (2) interrogatories, and (3) requests for production of documents.  Requests for admissions are kind of like a true/false test.  You will see a series of statements which you must either admit, deny, or if you don't have any information, deny the same.  Interrogatories are like short answer questions which can be answered in a paragraph or two.  Lastly, requests for production of documents are just that; requests for documentation of your claims.  One of the most important things you can do as a small business owner to prepare for a business lawsuit is to document everything and keep your documentation handy.

2.  Motions to Compel

The second aspect of the discovery process which you need to prepare for in a business lawsuit in Oklahoma is motions to compel.  Sometimes, but not in every lawsuit, there is a dispute in the written discovery process.  This can come about for many reasons.  The opposing party might file a motion to compel because they are dissatisfied with your answers to the interrogatories, or lack of production of documents.  Sometimes this is because your attorney has wisely asserted a privilege and not produced something that should be kept confidential such as trade secrets or other sensitive information.  Your attorney will need to block these motions by negotiating with the opposing counsel or making argument before the judge.  Oklahoma requires a good faith conference between the attorneys before a motion to compel can be filed.  At the same time, you might have to file a motion to compel for the same reasons if the opposing party is not forthcoming with their answers to interrogatories or production of documents in the case.

3.  Depositions

Lastly, the third aspect of the discovery process which you need to prepare for in a business lawsuit in Oklahoma is depositions.  After the written discovery process is concluded, and any motions to compel are resolved, usually the parties will often wish to depose each other, along with any key witnesses in the case.  A good attorney who is preparing the case for trial will wish to depose any witness who will testify at trial.  A deposition is an interview which is designed to get important information in the case and is essentially a preview of a party's or a witness's testimony.  If you are preparing for your own deposition, you will need to work with your attorney on how to answer questions, and your attorney needs to go over potential questions with you and give you guidance on how to answer those questions.  Your attorney should also guide you in how to answer unexpected questions.  Also, your attorney should work with you in developing a strategy on what questions to ask the opposing party and any other witnesses that they wish to depose.

Thinking about starting a small business?  Or maybe your small business is having issues with contracts, leases, business partners, collection issues, or experiencing other barriers to growth?  Please contact me at [email protected] to schedule a FREE strategy session.

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About the Author

Jonathan Krems

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Attorney of Liberty Legal Solutions, LLC, a law firm dedicated to building, protecting, and defending the business and personal interests of our clients in Oklahoma.  Jonathan's primary practice areas are business law, contracts and agreements, business liti...


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