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Counterclaim Law Attorney in Austin, Texas
In civil proceedings, a counterclaim is a claim made by the defendants to counter or oppose the claim of the plaintiff. Bringing a counterclaim is often considered a smart tactic in business litigation, because it forces the plaintiff to divide his or her attention between bringing a claim and defending against one. In addition, the tactic can increase the possibility of settlement as the other party seeks to avoid possible charges such as fraud or contract breach.
To given an example: A contractor is hired to build a pool for a client. Following the completion of the work, the client refuses to pay the full, negotiated price. The contractor (plaintiff) brings a lawsuit against the client (defendant) for refusing to pay the negotiated amount. The client then files a counterclaim against the contractor suggesting that the work was done improperly or that the work was not 100 percent complete. The counterclaim may request that the plaintiff reimburse the defendant for the additional expenses needed to complete the job.
Permissive Counterclaim Versus Compulsory Counterclaim
According to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) counterclaims can be either compulsory or permissive. A compulsory counterclaim must come about from the same happening as the claim of the plaintiff. A compulsory counterclaim must be made by the defendant as an initial response to the plaintiff’s current claim; it cannot be made in a later time or during a separate lawsuit. If the defendant does not file a compulsory counterclaim right away, the defendant will lose the right to bring any counterclaim. A permissive counterclaim, on the other hand, may be brought at any time. This type of counterclaim may be brought about by a happening that is completely unrelated to the matter of the plaintiff’s current lawsuit.
Because of the nature of counterclaims, individuals and businesses bringing lawsuits must beware of the possibility that the entity being sued will sue them back. When discussing whether or not to take legal action, we will talk about this possibility. How likely is it that the defendant will file a counterclaim? Are there legal strategies we should pursue to account for a possible counterclaim?
Counterclaim Case in Austin? Contact the Law Office of John McDuff
I am John McDuff, and I I take pride in finding the elusive answers to difficult legal questions and to resolving complex business litigation effectively. I will discuss the possibility of a counterclaim with my clients entering into litigation, whether they are considering bringing suit and, therefore, must anticipate a counterclaim from the defendant, or if they will be named as defendant in a lawsuit. I primarily serve clients in Austin, Travis County and Central Texas. Call 512.457.1177 to speak with me about your legal concerns.