Ben and Jerry Lawfirm

Procedures of Civil Cases

What is a Civil Case?

A Civil Case is a federal case that involves a legal dispute between two or more parties.

Plaintiff

The plaintiff is the person who brings a case against another in a court of law.

Defendant

The defendant is the person accused of a crime in a criminal prosecution, or the person against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in a civil case.

Civil Law

Civil Law is a legal system originating in Europe, intellectualized within the framework of late Roman law, and whose most prevalent feature is that its core principles are codified into referable system which serves as the primary source of law.

Arbitration

The use of an arbitrator to settle a dispute.

Pretrial Conference

A meeting of the judge and lawyers to discuss which matters should be presented to the jury, to review evidence and witnesses, to set a timetable, and to discuss the settlement of the case.

Pleadings

Formal statements of the cause of an action or defense.

Mediation

Intervention in a dispute in order to resolve it.

Summons

An order to appear before a judge or magistrate, or the writ containing it.

Complaint

Any formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons that the filing party/parties believe are sufficient to support a claim against the party/parties against whom the claim is brought to a remedy.

Verdict

The decision on a disputed issue in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.

Appeal

Apply to a higher court for a reversal of the decision to be reversed.

Trial

A formal examination of evidence before the judge, and typically before a jury, in order to decide guilt in a case of criminal or civil proceedings.

Preponderance of Evidence

The greater weight of the evidence required in a civil lawsuit for the trier of fact to decide in favor of one side or the other. This preponderance is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence. One clearly knowledgeable witness may provide a preponderance of evidence over a dozen witnesses with hazy testimony, or a signed agreement with definite terms may outweigh opinions or speculation about what the parties intended.