The facts of the case must be investigated before preparing and filing a complaint. Below is a checklist of things to consider before filing a Complaint.
1. Client’s permission must be obtained before the complaint is filed.
2. The complaint must be filed before the statute of limitations has run.
3. Consider where the action can be filed and what forum would be best for your client.
4. Some factors to consider in choosing a forum include:
a. Verdicts returned by jurors.
b. Judges’ style.
c. The time it would take to bring suit to trial.
d. The convenience of location for the client, counsel, and key witnesses.
e. Differing rules of evidence.
f. Differing rules of law.
5. Consider who should be named as Defendants.
a. Client’s goals.
b. Effect on jurisdiction or venue.
c. Issues involving additional Defendants.
6. Trial strategy.
7. Financial responsibility of the Defendants.
8. Care must be taken that the correct name of the Defendant is used.
9. Every possible basis for the suit should be developed.
10. Avoid over-pleading (pleading more facts than necessary to state a claim for relief).
11. Do not be so specific in pleading facts that the case is unduly limited.
12. Facts that clearly cannot be proved should not be pleaded.
13. Important to keep in mind what proof will be needed to prove the case.
14. Carefully develop a theory of damages or other relief.
a. Determine what damages and relief are available.
b. Determine whether damages are causally related to the basis for liability.
c. Do not seek the unprovable or exaggerated amount of relief.
15. Complaint should be endorsed by the lawyer.
16. Consider whether special notice of claim must be sent to any Defendant (e.g., special notice may be required when the Defendant is municipality).
17. If a jury trial is desired, then demand should be made.