The difference between a good attorney and an excellent attorney often lies in the ability to effectively prepare cases for trial starting from the very first day on the job.  At the Law Office of James M. Thomas Esq., our attorney(s) are experienced litigators who have taken many cases to court.  Excellence in litigation not only ensures that your rights will be protected in the courtroom; it also provides a distinct advantage in settlement negotiations. If the other side knows that your law firm and your attorney has a reputation for aggressively prosecuting or defending your case in Court, they may be more inclined to offer a reasonable settlement before trial.

Our civil litigation practice includes commercial litigation, contract disputes, lemon law prosecution, and contractor malfeasance.  Our civil litigation attorney (s) have represented professionals, individuals, and businesses throughout the Tampa Bay Area in their disputes in civil court. They have earned a reputation as attorneys who consistently strive for the best possible outcome in any case.


  1. What is a civil action anyway?

  2. What should I do if I am "served" with a legal document?

  3. What does "served" or "being served" mean?

  4. Am I required to hire a lawyer to start or defend a lawsuit?

  5.  If I win my case, does the other party have to pay for my legal fees?

  6. Why should I consult the Law Office of James M. Thomas Esq.?

What is a civil action anyway?
A civil action is any legal action in court that is not a result of criminal conduct. Civil actions are between people or corporations and criminal actions are between the State and the accused. Examples of civil actions are debt claims, motor vehicle accidents, divorces, adoptions, contract disputes, foreclosures, and probate. The persons involved in a civil action are called the Plaintiff or Petitioner and the Defendant or Respondent.
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What should I do if I am "served" with a legal document?
If the document you receive is a "Statement of Claim", a "Summons", or a "Petition" or Complaint, you must take quick action if you want to dispute the claim or the action sought and follow the instructions on the Summons.

Do not ignore any of these documents. If you do, the other side may obtain a judgment against you. A judgment entered against you will appear on the public record and may cause a host of other problems such as a derogatory mark on your credit report.  You should immediately seek legal advice if you receive any legal documents by contacting the Law Office of James M. Thomas Esq. at 1.866.503.8200.
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What does "served" or "being served" mean?
The formal process by which a party named in a legal action receives a copy of the legal documents filed to start or to defend a legal action is called "service" or "being served".

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Am I required to hire a lawyer to start or defend a lawsuit?
No, you are not required to do so, however, civil litigation is a complex process for persons who have not been trained to deal with the intricate and complicated procedures and strategy required in a lawsuit setting. Attorney(s) at the Law Office of James M. Thomas Esq. have been trained to effectively plan and deal with these issues.  The other side probably has a lawyer managing their case and therefore it is wise and prudent for you to level the playing field by hiring your own lawyer.
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If I win my case, does the other party have to pay for my legal fees?
There are circumstances where this may be true.  Your attorney can advise you if your circumstance is one where the other side may be required to reimburse you for the attorney fees and costs you have expended in litigating your case. 
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Why should I consult the Law Office of James M. Thomas Esq.?
Your lawyer is your advocate who will conduct matters with your best interests in mind. Your lawyer can advise you of: 

Any limitation dates that might affect your right to proceed with a civil action;

The proper court and documents needed to start the action;

Your legal position and any claims or defenses that should or must be made;

The time limits at each stage of the process;

Any interim orders needed to protect your interests;

The need for any expert advise;

Your chances of success or failure, and whether settlement should be accepted;

Whether an appeal should be taken;

Ways of enforcing your court order in the event you prevail.
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Your Attorney at the Law Office of James M. Thomas Esq. can:

Draft the necessary pleadings;

Arrange for the proper filing and service of the documents on the other party;

Take necessary steps to protect your position until settlement of the matter or a judgment is entered;

Conduct necessary investigations and retain experts if needed to support your case;

Help prepare you for the examinations for discovery and testimony at trial;

Conduct examinations of discovery of the other party and obtain and review its documents and other evidence;

Manage and present your evidence at trial and monitor the presentation of your opponent¡¯s evidence to enforce compliance with court rules.


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