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Most builders direct a great deal of time and energy toward avoiding disputes. They prepare accurate cost estimates to eliminate budget problems and plan realistic project schedules to meet client expectations. And they craft their contracts carefully, trying to foresee every eventuality. In fact, most builders focus so completely on avoiding litigation that when a lawsuit finally comes along, they find themselves on completely unfamiliar ground. A lawsuit can be frightening and confusing when you don't know what to expect. But all civil lawsuits follow the same steps in the same order. The details can be complicated, but the general procedure is straightforward. To help sort out the initial stages of a civil lawsuit, consider the following hypothetical situation. The complaint. A