Rollins Law Firm
Terms to Know During Your Case
Plaintiff - A person who brings a case against another in a court of law.
Defendant - An individual, company, or institution sued or accused in a court of law.
Complaint - A formal statement that names the plaintiff and defendant and describes the lawsuit.
Summons - A document telling the defendant of the suit against them and ordering them to appear in court.
Pleadings - In defense pleadings, it is the complaint and the answer together. Both sides gather evidence to help their case and exchange pleadings in response to the accusation.
Pre-Trial Conference - A judge may have both parties in a meeting to help clarify differences and prepare for the trial. This is called the pre-trial conference.
Mediation - A form of alternative dispute resolution. A third party, the mediator, assists the parties in negotiating a settlement.
Arbitration - A process of settling a dispute in which the people or groups on both sides present their opinions and ideas to a third party. This is different from mediation in that an arbitrator usually takes on a role similar to a judge while a mediator does not judge the case, but simply helps to resolve the dispute. An arbitrator's decision is binding.
Trial - A formal examination of evidence before a judge, and typically before a jury, to decide guilt in a case of criminal or civil proceedings.
Preponderance of Evidence
Preponderance of Evidence - In civil cases, a jury is instructed to determine which party has preponderance of evidence and return a verdict in its favor. Preponderance of evidence is having a higher amount of convincing evidence than the other side has.
Verdict - The final outcome of the case in which either the defendant or the plaintiff wins.
Appeal - If someone is dissatisfied with the result of a case, they may apply to a higher court for the reversal of the decision that the lower court made.