2 What is a civil case? civil case A noncriminal lawsuit, usually involving private property rights. For example, lawsuits involving breach of contract, probate, divorce, negligence and copyright violations are just a few of the many hundreds of varieties of civil lawsuits.
3 Civil Cases Heard in N.C.Civil cases such as divorce, custody, child support and cases involving less than $10,000 are heard in District Court, along with criminal cases involving misdemeanors and infractions.In civil cases, the magistrate is authorized to try small claims involving up to $5,000 including landlord eviction cases.
4 Other civil casesMany lawsuits deal with negligence, or personal injuryA negligence suit is filed when a person has been injured or killed or when property has been destroyed because someone else has been careless or negligent.
5 Civil Cases Filed in North Carolina In Superior Court over 28,000 civil cases,62,800 estate cases and 118,000 special proceeding cases.In District Court over 475,000 civil cases are filed every year.
6 Suits of EquityEquity suit: A suit brought for the enforcement or protection of a private right or the prevention of or redress for an injury where there is no plain, adequate, and complete remedy at law. Essentially, judges were empowered to use equity or fairness to decide cases in which the law did not appear to address the issue at hand. Equity suits were abolished in Oregon in 1978.
7 InjunctionsWhen deciding suits of equity, a judge may issue an injunction which is a court order to stop a certain action. For example, a judge can issue an injunction to stop the construction of a highway if property rights have not been legally decided.
8 What happens in a civil case? Pre-trial Procedures in Civil CasesSuits begin with the filing of a complaint in the proper court. The person filing the suit is often referred to as the plaintiff; the person or entity against whom the case is filed is often referred to as the defendant. In some areas of law, such as domestic relations, the person filing the complaint is the petitioner, and the person against whom the case is filed is the respondent.
9 What happens in a civil case? The complaint states the plaintiff's version of the facts, the legal theory under which the case is brought (negligence, for example), and asks for certain damages or other relief. The plaintiff also files with the court clerk a request that a summons (or notice) be issued to the defendant. In many jurisdictions, the summons will be served by a deputy sheriff or special process server. In other jurisdictions, it may be served by mail. It notifies the defendant that a lawsuit has been filed against him or her.After being notified, the defendant has a certain period of time to file an answer admitting or denying the allegations made in the complaint.
10 Pre trial conferencesJudges use pre-trial conferences with lawyers for many purposes. One type of conference gaining popularity is the status conference (sometimes called the early conference). This conference—held after all initial pleadings have been filed—helps the judge manage the case. Judges use it to establish a time frame for concluding all pre-trial activities and may set a tentative trial date at this time.In some jurisdictions, certain kinds of disputes—such as disagreements over child custody—must Judges also use pre-trial conferences to encourage settling cases. At the conference, the judge and the lawyers can review the evidence and clarify the issues in dispute.
11 Pre trial conferencesIf a case hasn’t been settled, many courts set a time for an issue conference. The lawyers usually appear at this hearing before a judge without their clients and try to agree on undisputed facts or points of law. Such agreements are called stipulations. The issue conference can shorten the actual trial time by determining points that don’t need to be proved during the trial. If a settlement doesn’t take place through pre-trial conferences, the judge sets a date for the trial
12 Civil Trials 1. A judge alone will hear the case or a jury of 6 to 12 members will be chosen.2.The Plaintiff presents its case first followedby the Defendant.3. Both sides then summarize their cases.4. Judge or jury then considers the evidence and decide on a verdict or decision in favor of one of the parties.5. If the plaintiff wins, the remedy is set. If the defendant wins, the plaintff gets nothing and must pay court costs.
13 Appeals of Civil Trial Verdicts If the losing side believes that the judge made errors during the trial or some other type of injustice took place, it may appeal the verdict to a higher court.In cases where the plaintiff often wins a large cash award, the defendant or the defendants insurance company will very often appeal to have the award reduced.A plaintiff may have to wait years before seeing any of the money the court awarded and may even end up with nothing.
14 Glossary of Civil Court Terms Action: Proceeding taken in a court of law. Sometimes called case, suit, or lawsuit. Affidavit: A written or printed declaration or statement under oath.Allegation: An assertion or statement of a party to an action made in a pleading, stating what he or she expects to prove.Answer: A formal response to a claim, admitting or denying the allegations in the claim.
15 Glossary of Civil Court Terms Complaint: (Civil) Initial document entered by the plaintiff which states the claims against the defendant.Defendant: (Civil) Person against whom a civil action is brought.Evidence: Any form of proof legally presented at a trial through witnesses, records, documents, etc.Hearsay: Evidence based on what the witness has heard someone else say, rather than what the witness has personally experienced or observed.Indigent: Needy, poor, impoverished. A defendant who can demonstrate his or her indigence to the court may be assigned a court-appointed attorney at public expense.Jurisdiction: Authority of a court to exercise judicial power.Litigant: One who is engaged in a law suit.
16 Glossary of Civil Court Terms Plaintiff: The party who begins an action; the party who complains or sues in an action and is named as such in the court's records.Pleadings: Formal, written allegations by the parties of their respective claims.Remand: To send back. A disposition by an appellate court that results in sending the case back to the original court from which it came for further proceedings.Summons: Document or writ directing the sheriff or other officer to notify a person that an action has been commenced against that individual and that he or she is required to appear, on a certain day, and answer the complaint in such action.Venue: The specific county, city, or geographical area in which a court has jurisdiction
17 Glossary of Civil Court Terms Adjudicate To make a final decision; to give a judgment or a decree.Adversary System Method used in the courts of the United States to settle legal disputes. Both parties in the case tell their story to the judge and/or jury for resolution.Affiant Someone who makes and signs an affidavit.Affidavit A written statement of fact, signed and sworn to in front of a notary or a person who has the right to administer an oath.Affirm To uphold a decision made by a lower court.Age of Majority Age at which the duty of support terminates. (Currently age 18 unless the child is actually attending high school, a certified high school equivalency program, or is disabled.)
18 Glossary of Terms in Civil Cases Arbitration Binding Voluntary Arbitration: A process in which the disputing parties choose a neutral person to hear their dispute and resolve it by rendering a final and binding decision or award. Arbitration is an adversarial, adjudicative process designed to resolve the specific issues submitted by the parties. Arbitration differs significantly from litigation in that (1) it does not require conformity with the legal rules of evidence and procedure, (2) there is flexibility in timing and choice of decision makers, and (3) the proceeding is conducted in private rather than in a public forum. Binding arbitration awards are usually enforceable by courts, absent defects in the arbitration procedure.Mandatory Non-binding Arbitration: Describes court-annexed arbitration programs. Court-appointed arbitrators hear cases subject to jurisdictional limits set by each county. The losing party has the right to a trial de novo (new trial) in the trial court.Arbitrator An attorney selected to hear a case and settle the legal dispute without a formal trial.
19 Goldman v. Simpson, 1997 Jury: O.J. is liable O.J. Simpson is liable for the 1994 death of Ronald Goldman and committed battery against his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, a civil trial jury ruled February 4, 1997.The Superior Court jury awarded $8.5 million in compensatory damages to the Goldman family and to Ron Goldman's biological mother.The jury ruled against Simpson on each of the eight technical questions of liability it was asked to consider. It effectively found Simpson liable for his ex-wife's death, though the Brown family did not seek such a verdict.
20 Goldman family pursues Simpson memorabilia to cover jury award SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — A memorabilia collector was ordered Tuesday to turn over O.J. Simpson's press credentials from the 1984 Olympics in another tiny step toward satisfying a $33.5 million award in a lawsuit that found Simpson liable for the slayings of his ex-wife and her friend.The order was issued after a closed-door court hearing to determine whether Simpson is hiding assets from the family of Ron Goldman, who was slain with Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994.Alfred Beardsley, a real estate agent and collector, was questioned by attorney Peter Csato, who represents Goldman's father, Fred. Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg then ordered Beardsley to turn over the press credentials, which Simpson wore as an Olympics commentator for ABC-TV, by Dec. 14.It was unclear how much the Olympic press credentials were worth, but Csato said outside court that Beardsley told them about "other tangible properties of substantive value" belonging to Simpson that Beardsley may be able to lead them to.
21 The Scopes “Monkey Trial” 1925 The "Scopes Trial" Scopes v. Tennessee, often called the "Scopes Monkey Trial") was an American legal case that tested a law passed on March 13, 1925, which forbade the teaching, in any state-funded educational establishment in Tennessee, of "any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals." The case was a watershed in the creation-evolution controversy.
22 The Scopes “Monkey Trial”, 1925 After eight days of trial, it took the jury only nine minutes to deliberate. Scopes was found guilty on July 21 and ordered to pay a US$ fine (approximately $1,165 when adjusted for inflation). Raulston imposed the fine before Scopes was given an opportunity to say anything about why the court should not impose punishment upon him and after Neal brought the error to the judge's attention the defendant spoke for the first and only time in court:“Your honor, I feel that I have been convicted of violating an unjust statute. I will continue in the future, as I have in the past, to oppose this law in any way I can. Any other action would be in violation of my ideal of academic freedom--that is, to teach the truth as guaranteed in our constitution, of personal and religious freedom. I think the fine is unjust.”
23 Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896Plessy v. Ferguson, was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of racial segregation even in public accommodations (particularly railroads), under the doctrine of "separate but equal".The decision was handed down by a vote of 7 to 1, with the majority opinion written by Justice Henry Billings Brown and the dissent written by Justice John Marshall Harlan, (with Justice David Josiah Brewer not participating in this case). "Separate but equal" remained standard doctrine in U.S. law until its final repudiation in the later Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
24 Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court, which overturned earlier rulings going back to Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, by declaring that state laws that established separate public schools for black and white students denied black children equal educational opportunities.Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Warren Court's unanimous (9-0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This victory paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement.
25 McCartney v. Mills, 2008LONDON -- Former Beatle Paul McCartney was ordered on Monday to pay his estranged wife Heather Mills 24.3 million pounds -- US$48.7-million --after an acrimonious divorce battle.
26 McCartney v. Mills, 2008 The case for Heather The revelations about Heather Mills' past (most notoriously, that she engaged in nude modeling in the Eighties) as well as the more controversial claims -- that she was a paid escort and a shoplifter -- have never, true or not, seemed to affect Paul McCartney's feelings. Therefore, it seems not only unfair but legally inadmissible to use her past against her.Her claims of physical abuse by McCartney, if true, would certainly entitle her to a larger portion of his estate than she would normally receive.Mills has also claimed that she offered to sign a pre-nuptial agreement with McCartney, which, if true, would put to rest the "gold digger" label.As the mother of their daughter Beatrice, Heather would naturally be awarded custody of her, yet McCartney has also filed for custody.
27 McCartney v. Mills, 2008 The case for Paul The vast majority of Paul McCartney's fortune was obviously accumulated before meeting Heather in 1999, thus limiting her claim to it. Contrary to reports that Mills could receive half of Paul's fortune, a more realistic percentage would be closer to fifteen percent -- more or less what the ex-Beatle has already offered in a settlement. Mills has refused this offer.There is no recorded or anecdotal evidence of Paul ever being physically abusive towards any woman, which makes her claims of abuse hard to believe.Heather has been accused of embellishing her own personal life story, which could weigh heavy upon her reliability at the trial.Mills can certainly be said to have used her marriage to McCartney in order to further her career, judging by the sharp increase in her public appearances since the trial (in direct contradiction to her stated wish for privacy).
28 McCartney v. Mills, 2008 Resolution March 17, 2008: It's over. Heather Mills, ex-model and activist and ex-wife of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, has been awarded 23.7 million pounds (currently about 47 million dollars) in her divorce from Sir Paul, she announced today. It's a slight victory for Mills, who had asked for much more, but wound up with more than the $32 million Paul had proposed. (Approximately $70,000 a year will be paid in child support for Beatrice, their only daughter, age 4.)