You want to win big in court. Guess what – so does the other side! They may not have your tools, though.
When you go to court, you have only one thing you want at the end of the case – a court order.
Everything else is fluff and filling. If you go into court with a complaint against your neighbor and you spend a lot of time talking about the angry looks he gave you while you walked your dog or his pot shots at your kids when they went past his property, if these are not part of your petition, you are setting yourself up to lose.
You need to keep your eye on the ball, so to speak.
A complaint in law has certain specifications identified in the law. For instance, if you want to bring a complaint regarding someone taking your property and using it as though it was his own and preventing you from using it, which materially affected you so you can set a monetary value to the damages, this is called “conversion.”
To prove conversion in court, you must establish that the property is yours, that the property was deliberately taken and used by the defendant, that you were deprived of the property and its use, and this deprivation was damaging to you. These four elements must be present to prove your case.
If you go to court and instead spend all your time talking about how rude the guy was, but do not prove either that the property was yours or that he refused to allow you the use of it, you have wasted your time in court and he could very well win this case. All he really has to do is deny your allegation and the burden of proof is on you. You may have gone to civil court with this because there was not quite enough evidence for criminal theft (which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt) but you thought you could win in civil court which has a lower threshold of proof, but you still have to make your case successfully.
My point is this: focus. Go over exactly what happened and study the different types of charges to see what fits exactly. Now, go over the elements required to prove the charge you intend to file against your antagonist. Make sure you have what you need to prove each element and go over it again.
Anticipate that someone will lie. Have your proof of each part. Use your tools, including discovery. Although the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution allows you to not testify against yourself in a criminal matter, you and your opponent still have to answer truthfully as under oath any relevant question or other discovery item presented in a civil case. The Fifth does not apply.
By the way – this whole article was about winning IN court. With proper use of discovery, you might be able to keep the matter out of court by forcing your opponent to disclose information damaging to his case. It’s a good strategy.