Civil litigation or non-criminal lawsuits arise out of disputes between people, businesses, or other entities, including government entities. Civil litigation generally proceeds through distinct steps: pleadings, discovery, trial and possibly appeal. Civil litigation is a voluntary court action in that the parties request their presence in front of the court as opposed to criminal litigation, in which the state requests the court to order the appearance of the accused. Since civil litigation is a voluntary process, this allows the parties to resolve their disputes through a voluntary settlement. The majority of civil litigation cases are resolved in out-of-court settlement. Some do require court proceedings to occur first and are then sometimes “settled on the courthouse steps.”
Civil litigation is commenced when one party, the plaintiff or petitioner, serves and/or files initial papers, often called a Complaint or Petition. The opposing party or parties then serves and/or files responsive papers, often called an Answer or Objection. Some cases require the responding party to file their own lawsuit concurrently with the initial Complaint or Petition, which can be referred to as a Counterclaim or a Third-Party Claim. These documents generally make up the initial pleadings of a case and start the civil litigation process.
Each state is different in their specific rules, just as each legal area can have different rules and laws that apply. Our firm has licensed attorneys in Minnesota and Wisconsin, so we are aware of these differences. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are the same in each district of the country and often times states will mirror their rules to match those of the Federal Courts.
Civil litigation is an important tool for those seeking redress for any type of damage suffered. Should you be damaged in any way, it is important to seek an attorney out to review your potential claims so as to avoid losing any rights that you may have against another person or entity. Should you find yourself on the receiving end of a Summons and Complaint or Petition, it is imperative that you have an attorney review those papers as they are time sensitive under any jurisdiction’s rules of civil procedure.
Contact Parker, Parker Satrom Law, P.A. today for more information regarding civil litigation.