What is Civil Litigation?
What is Civil Litigation?
Lawyer Stuart FL, Lawyer Port St. Lucie FL, Lawyer Jupiter FL
Civil Litigation is a legal action brought in civil court as opposed to criminal court. Civil actions cover a broad range of issues from Personal Injury to Contract disputes to Real Estate Disputes to Injunctions to Labor Law issues, etc…. The parties in a civil case can be individuals, corporations, governmental entities, or any legal entity which has the capacity to defend or assert legal rights.
When a noncriminal dispute between two parties arises and no resolution can be reached, an action can be undertaken by filing a complaint. The complaint contains allegations and counts which are supported by allegations which set forth the basis of the various causes of action detailed by the counts. Once the complaint is filed with the court, a summons is issued and it is served with the complaint on the other party. The person filing the complaint is the plaintiff. The person answering to the allegations set forth in the complaint is the defendant. The defendant has the opportunity to answer the allegations set forth in the complaint. This is called the answer and in Florida the answer must be made within 20 days of receiving the complaint. There are, of course, other options to answering the complaint, but each set of circumstances is fact specific and subject to the legal parameters of the individual situation. For the purposes of this brief post, I will only touch on the most rudimentary aspects of a civil action.
The next step in the civil litigation process is discovery. Discovery is the opportunity for the parties to find out information from the opposing party through the use of interrogatories (written questions), depositions (sworn testimony), requests for production of documentation and subpoenas. Discovery affords the parties to assess the strength of their case and the ability to prove or disprove the allegations set forth in the complaint.
At this point, and sometimes before, the parties decide that it might be more prudent to see if the dispute can be settled through another method: Mediation. Mediation is a method of dispute resolution whereby a mediator facilitates a settlement conference between the parties to reach a resolution. Mediation can be very cost effective and save time. If no settlement agreement is reached, the parties will proceed to trial and the case will be heard by a Judge.
Please understand, this is a simplified outline of the civil litigation process. It is usually a very involved process. It is important to have an understanding of the process itself.
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