First, you might ask the other side to agree in a binding writing that the statute of limitations will be tolled for a set amount of time while you pursue settlement. The mere conduct of settlement negotiations will not toll a statute of limitations. If you have timely sued the right parties for the right claims, then you met the statute's requirements. If not, such as if you sued the wrong parties, then there is a risk that letting the statute run without naming the proper defendants or causes...
Yes, there are provisions in the rules for vacating a judgment after 30 days. If you participated in the case, however, you may have waived an objection to personal jurisdiction. It is best to consult with an attorney if the judgment concerns you.
Generally, people have a qualified immunity from liability for defamation if their derogatory stements were solely made in a proper legal form to obtain legal relief. Once you start making statements outside such a forum, there is a far greater risk hat your derogatory statements would not be considered priviliged.
It is very possible the judge did not really deny the request for a jury trial but simply ordered that it must be arbitrated first. If the parties accept the result of the arbitration, a trial is unnecessary. If either side timely rejects the arbitration award, and likely pays a fee , the case can still be tried before a judge, and possibly a jury if it was properly requested. As arbitrations tend to be slightly less formal than trials, it is often easier for a pro se party to present his case...
The time for filing an appeal may differ depending on what court your case is in (i.e. state court, federal court, administrative agency). It is best to consult with a lawyer, but each legal forum will have its own set of rules governing the time to appeal.
You can absolutely sue multiple defendants for the same misconduct, and discovery should eventually help you identify who the real driver was. As others have suggested, it is best to hire an attorney for this, and the sooner the better. A lawyer might even help you resolve the situation without a lawsuit.
You might have a cause of action for fraud, but in order to determine that, additional facts would be necessary and you might be well advised to talk to an attorney. You might also want to think of looking for another job, because if your employer has misled you from the beginning and your opportunities are less than you were led to expect, it does not bode well for the future.
Judges have substantial discretion in allowing witnesses to testify. If it would be relevant to an issue, and the court does not believe she would be unfairly traumatized by testifying, and she appears to understand the importance of testifying truthfully in court, my guess is that her testimony would be allowed, and the judge would consider her testimony along with all of the other evidence in ruling on the matter.
The usual procedure is that the plaintiff will simply obtain a second (or alias) summons to be served at the valid address, and the case is continued for another status hearing at which time the court will inquire whether the defendant was served. As others have said, this may occur numerous times over a good number of months before the court will dismiss a case for want of prosecution.
Failure to comply with a court order could result in finding you in contempt or sanctions against you, which could things like a fine, jail, or a default or other order hurting your position in the litigation.