When civil disputes arise between individuals or businesses (or even the government), civil litigation is the process by which those disputes are resolved in court. Civil litigation encompasses disputes such as family law matters and contractual disagreements, among many other things. Civil litigation differs from criminal law in that in criminal matters, the government is always the plaintiff. In civil matters, although the government can bring a civil suit, the parties are most often private parties such as individuals or businesses.
Civil disputes can often be resolved through negotiation without having to file a lawsuit. If a resolution cannot be reached, initiating litigation by filing a lawsuit can sometimes put enough pressure on the other party to facilitate a resolution. The beginning stage of a lawsuit requires filing pleadings. Litigation begins when the plaintiff files a complaint, which tells the court what the defendant did or didn’t do that caused the plaintiff harm. The defendants must then file an answer to the complaint. The answer tells the defendant’s side of the story.
Still, if the dispute remains unresolved despite the filing of a lawsuit, the next stage in civil litigation is a maze of pretrial procedures, which often includes exchanging information with the other side (called discovery) and the filing of various motions (e.g., motion for summary judgment). A trial is the last stage of civil litigation, in which evidence is heard and either a judge or jury will resolve the conflict by entering a verdict or judgment.
Giordano & Heckele, PLLC’s experienced litigators handle all sorts of civil litigations matters. If you are involved in a dispute, HSH Law can help you reach resolution through negotiation or the formal litigation process. Call today for a consultation: (520) 352-0008. Or email us at [email protected]