How to permanently make a civil law suit become permanently terminated
4 attorney answers
I agree with my colleagues. I will add that there is no way to stop someone from appealing, once. An appeal from a final judgment is basically a matter of right, but subsequent appeals, such as to the California or Federal Supreme Court are not. They are discretionary, and most of the times a person tries to appeal to a Supreme Court (seeks a writ of certiorari), the writ is denied, and the Court never considers the appeal.
The only real way to avoid an appeal is to get the other side to dismiss their case with prejudice, which may require a settlement or some very heavy leverage--such as the anti-SLAPP my colleague mentioned, since a Plaintiff losing an anti-SLAPP can be required to pay the Defendant's attorney's fees and costs.
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Retain counsel. It appears at least one of the causes of action (defamation) is subject to an anti-SLAPP motion. If an individual member has homeowners' or renters' insurance, prompt reporting to the insurance company(s) may provide a defense to the insured member at no cost, except that which might later be imposed for uncovered claims. Bottoms line: everyone needs an attorney. Depending on the issues and willingness of the members to sign conflict waivers, all might be able to be represented by the same attorney or firm.
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If there is no dispute as to any "material fact" you could try a motion for summary judgment.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts...
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The defendants need to timely file their responsive pleading to avoid entry of default against them. Depending on the circumstances, defendants may be able to demur to the complaint. Otherwise, they should answer the complaint and proceed with discovery, motions for summary judgment/adjudication, and trial preparation. Along the way, the parties may engage in discussion for settlement, if they find it appropriate. Be sure to consult your own attorney to protect your legal rights.