If you have been wronged by another, whether it be a person, corporation or government entity, you can get relief in the courts. Here are the steps I would follow in deciding how to proceed:
Research Your Opponent
- Google the “entity’s name” and “lawsuit”
- Note any lawsuits that have the same basis as your complaint, especially those in the same court systems you reside in.
- Check the court records for any actions against your opponent. You can find some local court records online, and if not, they will be available at the county courthouse. Federal cases will be available in the Pacer system, however, they do charge per page after a certain limit.
- Note the “causes of action” that have been leveled against your opponent. These are the legal theories they are being sued under. This will give you a head start on what charges you may bring against your opponent.
- Save a copy of all cases similar to yours, especially if your counterpart won, or they survived the motions to dismiss.
- Visit a local law library, and ask the librarian for some help. They are usually the only people you’ll contact that will be happy to help. Ask them for summaries of legal rulings that apply in your jurisdiction. Reading these is an easy, concise way to understand the legal concepts you’ll be pursuing.
Once you have a good idea of how many others are suing your opponent and why, you can start to make some decisions about how to proceed. At this point, your goal is to choose a court system to file in, and the causes of actions your going to pursue.
Next, I suggest interviewing a few local attorneys about your case, especially if they have represented others in the court cases you’ve previously examined. Let them give you their impressions of your current direction, and see if they’d be willing to work with you on an unbundled basis (you’re still proceeding pro se, but they are consulting with you in the background). If not, you can hire a lawyer or para-legal hourly through Upworks.com.
After deciding on a court system, download their rules of the court, and prepare a complaint mirroring some of the other cases you’ve downloaded, or as prepared by your attorney or para-legal. Following the rules of the court you’ve selected, file your complaint.
Once your complaint is filed, your future actions and timeline will be described in the rules of the court, and the rules of evidence. There are many things to learn along the way, so be prepared to spend significant time doing research and learning new things.
In my case, I learned the most by taking some para-legal courses at my local community college. In hindsight, I really didn’t need to actually take the classes, just reading the text book was sufficient. Here are two text books that helped the most:
Finally, if you are suing for the greater good, I’d be happy to help. Feel free to contact me at 770.516.6922 to compare notes.