How to guarantee lawsuit defeat in 5 easy steps

[I retooled this post from a few years ago to make it more readable and hopefully more helpful]

Cheshire County Court House in Keene NH

Have you wondered what things typically lead to losing in court? It is a great question, and I provide the answers below.

There is an axiom, familiar to many lawyers that lawsuits are won or lost in moves made during pretrial, not so much at trial.

I would take it a step further: Many times, the effective outcome of the lawsuit is determined before anyone even visits an attorney. It is the actions, plans (or lack thereof) and decisions made when entering into or winding down business relationships that create the foundation for lawsuit success or failure.  With that in mind, below are my 5 “easy steps” for guaranteeing, you will lose your lawsuit:

No documentation.  Avoid documenting your business relationship in writing.  Avoid any writing that might describe who was going to do what in the Oklahoma business relationship and what was going to be paid when.

Outlandish promises.  Make outlandish, unsupportable promises about what you can deliver during the business relationship.

Email sabotage.  Write an email or series of emails (text messages also work well) that undermines your strategic position because you are angry.

Oversight.  Fail to take simple and routine action to protect your intellectual property (such as “no-brainer” state trademark registration).

Falsify documents.  Submit documents to a government agency that you believe in but which could reasonably be considered false or misleading.  This worked to ensure that the guy who sued Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’sfounder, over an ownership in the company, lost his lawsuit faced criminal.

. . . This post is sarcasm to demonstrate a point: Take care of these areas now every day forward so that if you do wind up in a lawsuit, you are in a position of strength and arriving at the courthouse with a nearly inevitable defeat awaiting you.

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."