Bringing charges against a person in civil court
Today we are here at the pretrial conference because of a young boy who was bitten in the face by a small dog. The young boy and his parents being the plaintiff, and the owners of the small dog being the defendant who was being taken to court and being sued for what the dog had done to the little boy. The plaintiff hired an attorney. The attorney filed a complaint, a formal statement that names the parties and describes the nature of the lawsuit. The court then sends a summons which is when the court requests for you appearance in court because you are either a witness or a defendant. The summons job is to respond to a complaint, which is a document telling the defendant of the suit against a person and orders them to appear in court on a certain day and time. Throughout the pretrial the defendants were giving reasons why they were not responsible for this and are not guilty. Complaint and response are called pleadings. During the pretrial conference there are two sides classify differences. One being that you may decide to drop the lawsuit because it is weak or if the lawsuit is too strong, defendant may decide to offer a settlement. Second being the two parties could decide to resolve the dispute through mediation, which is where third party facilitates discussion and helps two sides come to a consensus, or through arbitration which is when third party settles the dispute and the decision of the arbitrator is legally binding. Soon after they went to trial where the plaintiff presented their side of the case first. Then the defendant presents theirs. Both plaintiff and defendant summarize up their cases for the judge and jury. The defendant tried to defend the case by claiming that the child had been teasing the animal, when the proofs developed showed that the boy had only been trying to pet the dog. Plaintiff must prove the case with “a preponderance of evidence” –to persuade the judge or jury that the defendant is responsible for the injuries. The judge or the jury decides verdict. They decided to choose plaintiff side which meant that the defendant/s will have to pay for all the doctor bills and medication for the little boy that had scars all of his face. If the judge or jury would have gone with a different verdict such as the defendant’s side then the plaintiff would have received nothing and would pay court costs. The plaintiff may appeal to a higher court if not happy with the judge’s verdict.