Most people are familiar with the concept of accused criminals sometimes “getting off on technicalities” before their cases are ever tried. This same concept can apply to defendants in civil lawsuits as well. Like criminal defense attorneys, civil defense lawyers look for ways to have the entire case (or most valuable causes of action) against their clients thrown out. It is our job to defeat their technical challenges.
The first and most common technical challenges that care homes file against our lawsuits are demurrers and motions to strike. These motions try to convince the judge that our causes of action are not worded properly or describe wrongdoing that could never have amounted to elder abuse. The second type of challenge is a motion for summary judgment (MSJ), which asks the judge to rule that we do not have enough evidence to prove our case and should not even be allowed to go to trial.
Demurrers and motions to strike are usually filed very early in cases, while MSJs are typically filed a few months before trial. If successful, any of these motions could cripple our ability to pursue your claim. We have historically had a high degree of success defeating such motions, but nothing is ever guaranteed. While the law regarding certain technical issues may seem clear to us, if a judge sees things differently (or the defense convinces him or her to do so), we may face an uphill battle seeking justice for even the most serious wrongs.