Law Firm Extraordinaire

What happens in civil court? We have your answers!

The Plaintiff, Defendant, and Complaint

First step you need to use is coming in to talk to us about your situation. You hire one of our lawyers, and he or she will file a complaint with the court. The complaint is a formal statement naming the plaintiff (you), defendant (the person you file the complaint against), and a description of the lawsuit.

Next step is sending a Summons.

The court sends a summons to the defendant, which is a document telling the defendant about the civil court suit against them and orders them to appear in court on a given date/time.
They can respond to the charges by having their own attorney "answer" the complaint.

Pleadings and Pre-Trial Conference

Next step in a civil court case is the pleadings, which is the complaint and the answer together. This is when the lawyers for both parties gather evidence to help their clients case.

After that, we have the pre-trial conference, which is when the judge has both the defendant and the plaintiff (and both lawyers) in a meeting to go over differences and prepare for the trial.

Mediation, Arbitration, and Trial.

3 options are available to you after the pre-trial conference; Mediation being the first. This is when a third party is introduced to help the plaintiff and defendant reach an agreement. Another option is Arbitration, in which a third party is introduced and listens to both the plaintiff and defendant, reviews the case, and makes a final decision that is binding for both parties. If neither of these options are working for you, the case can go to trial; this is when a jury of 6 to 12 people OR a judge will hear the case on their own. The plaintiff goes first to present their case, then the defendant, both summarize their cases, and then the judge or jury decides the case.

Prepondenerance of Evidence

Preponderance of evidence is the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil lawsuit that persuades the jury or judge over the trial to go for one side or the other (defendant or plaintiff).

Verdict and Appeal

The verdict is basically the decision made by either the judge or the jury. The trial can go either way, either the plaintiff or defendant has to pay court costs or a fine.
If the losing party feels that the case went wrong somewhere along the line, they can ask for a review from a higher court. This action is called an appeal.