Civil Litigation in San Jose and Silicon Valley

As the third largest city in California and a hub of Silicon Valley businesses, San Jose is at the center of major innovation and technological change in the Bay Area. The term “Silicon Valley,” referring to the silicon-based integrated circuit that was developed in the area, was coined by entrepreneur Ralph Vaerst as far back as 1971. Located in Santa Clara County, San Jose has an estimated population of 967,487 people and around 71,553 firms. Forbes Magazine called it the 28th best city for business and careers in the United States.

Silicon Valley’s phenomenal growth over the last half-century has also led to an increasing number of disputes in the region. Personal matters that give rise to civil litigation include probate disputes, defamation, and personal injury. Business disputes in Silicon Valley relate to contracts, commercial laws, intellectual property rights and trade secrets, construction, real estate, fraud, and employment issues that may give rise to civil litigation in Santa Clara County.

What is Civil Litigation?

Civil litigation generally deals with disputes between two or more parties—individuals or business entities— that stand in either a social or business relationship with each other. Simply speaking, civil lawsuits arise when one party, the plaintiff, seeks to obtain money damages from or effectuate specific conduct by the other, the defendant. Lawsuits can involve simple or complex issues, and may encompass damages ranging from only minor compensation to millions of dollars.

Civil litigation is roughly divided into the following stages: investigation, the filing of and response to a complaint, discovery, pre-trial, trial, settlement and appeal. Not all of these stages are reached in every case. Some cases are resolved amicably at the investigation stage. Others can be resolved through a motion to the court that explains why the case has no merit or lacks sufficient evidence on one or more elements.

The majority of civil lawsuits are settled before trial during the discovery or pre-trial phases, often through a form of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) like mediation or arbitration in front of a neutral party. Like most courts in the Bay Area, most judges in Santa Clara County send cases to ADR. Therefore, only a minority of cases, which cannot be resolved through ADR, do proceed through trial, sometimes in front of a jury. It is important to be represented by an aggressive and well-respected trial attorney through this process.

Types of Silicon Valley Civil Litigation Handled by the Law Offices of James G. Schwartz

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2005 54 civil cases went to trial in Santa Clara. The majority of these were tort cases. “Torts” are social wrongs committed negligently, recklessly or intentionally, rather than criminal violations or contract disputes. Some common torts, like negligence, occur through carelessness—car crashes, motorcycle collisions, construction site injuries, and professional misconduct. The standard in these cases is whether the party that allegedly caused the injury acted as a reasonable person would have under the circumstances. Examples of intentional torts include fraud, defamation and interference with a business contract.

Here is a more comprehensive list of the kinds of civil cases the Law Offices of James G. Schwartz handles:

  • Business and commercial litigation
    • Interference with a business relationship
    • Breach of contract
    • Theft
    • Conversion or misappropriation
  • Real estate litigation
    • Landlord-tenant disputes
    • Property/neighbor disputes
    • Damage to property
    • Foreclosure
    • Eviction
  • Intellectual property litigation
  • Construction litigation
  • Personal injury
  • Fraud or misrepresentation
  • Defamation (libel or slander)
  • Insurance coverage/bad faith denial
  • Elder abuse
  • Education law and students' rights
  • Probate litigation
  • Employment litigation (employer or employee representation)

Although some cases resolve quickly, civil litigation is most often a lengthy, expensive and stressful process that can take years, particularly if the issues are complex or if there are more than two parties involved in the suit. If you believe you have been wronged by another person or business such that you need to file a lawsuit, or if someone else has sued you, the San Jose civil litigation attorneys of the Law Offices of James G. Schwartz have experience both prosecuting and defending civil litigation and obtaining substantial recoveries for its clients. Contact us at 925-463-1073 or via our online form.

Contact us for your Free Initial Consultation