Guide for Civil Court

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Plaintiff or Defendant?

  • If you're the plaintiff, I need to file a complaint that describes the lawsuit and names you and the defendant
  • If you're the defendant, I need to respond to your charges by answering to complaint

Steps in Civil Case

  • After a complaint is filed, the court will summon the defendant to inform them of charges and date and time to appear
  • Defendant responds to charges and pleadings of the complaint and answer can be made
  • Evidence is gathered
  • Pretrial Discussions may be conducted in which the judge has both parties meet to clarify and prepare (possibility that a settlement may be offered)
  • Mediation can be held in arbitration in which a third party helps the defendant and plaintiff reach an agreement and also make a final binding decision
  • Trial is held if case isn't settled with a jury or the judge alone
  • The Plaintiff presents first with a preponderance of evidence and then the Defendant presents
  • A summation of both sides is conducted
  • The judge/jury decides on a verdict
  • If Plaintiff wins, the Defendant pays. If the Defendant wins, the Plaintiff faces the court costs.
  • If you are unhappy with the court's decision, an option is available to appeal the case to a higher court.

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