Even if you sue without a lawyer, you still need a good legal argument.

Ms. Keen sued the bug company, Terminix, because she was subjected to pesticides. When she lost the case at trial, she appealed. On appeal she did not have an attorney and represented herself. She did not follow the court's rules that required cogent reasoning, she lost. Though it is not settled, it is nevertheless an indication that appellate courts just might throw a case out if there is no good legal argument.

If you are in a lawsuit and choose not to hire a lawyer you still must present a good argument, supported by legal authority. The Indiana high courts will demand a cogent argument. And that argument must be supported with referenced to legal authority. This is primarily because it helps the appellate courts to be impartial

You can just go in and tout your side of the story but you run the risk of making the court search through your papers and then make up its own arguments. The court cannot be your advocate but must be an adjudicator. The arguments you present on paper should help a court to decide your issues.

Know that a court will not search the record to find a basis for your arguments and will definitely not help you find legal support for your position.

For more on the Keen case: Keen v. Terminix Int'l Co. L.P., 2015 Ind. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1219 (Ind. Ct. App. Oct. 30, 2015).



Daniel Zamudio

I am a patent attorney and have experience litigating in federal court.