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16.1 Civil Cases. Civil Lawsuits In civil cases the plaintiff- the party bringing a lawsuit- claims to have suffered a loss and usually seeks damages.

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Presentation on theme: "16.1 Civil Cases. Civil Lawsuits In civil cases the plaintiff- the party bringing a lawsuit- claims to have suffered a loss and usually seeks damages."— Presentation transcript:

1 16.1 Civil Cases

2 Civil Lawsuits In civil cases the plaintiff- the party bringing a lawsuit- claims to have suffered a loss and usually seeks damages from the defendant who argues either the loss did not occur or that they are not responsible for it In civil cases the plaintiff- the party bringing a lawsuit- claims to have suffered a loss and usually seeks damages from the defendant who argues either the loss did not occur or that they are not responsible for it

3 Civil Lawsuits Lawsuits may involve property disputes, breach of contract, or family matters; many deal with negligence, or personal injury due to someone’s carelessness Lawsuits may involve property disputes, breach of contract, or family matters; many deal with negligence, or personal injury due to someone’s carelessness

4 Bringing Suit Hire a lawyer who files a complaint with the court, it is a formal statement naming the plaintiff and defendant and describing the nature of the lawsuit Hire a lawyer who files a complaint with the court, it is a formal statement naming the plaintiff and defendant and describing the nature of the lawsuit

5 Bringing Suit The court then sends the defendant a summons, a document that announces the defendant is being sued, and sets a date and time to appear in court The court then sends the defendant a summons, a document that announces the defendant is being sued, and sets a date and time to appear in court

6 The Defendant’s Response The defendant may respond to the charges by having his attorney file an “answer” to the complaint; the complaint and answer together are referred to as pleadings The defendant may respond to the charges by having his attorney file an “answer” to the complaint; the complaint and answer together are referred to as pleadings Pleadings filed to the FL Supreme Court Nov. 2000

7 The Defendant’s Response Before a trial lawyers check facts and gather evidence by questioning the other party and witnesses, this process is called discovery Before a trial lawyers check facts and gather evidence by questioning the other party and witnesses, this process is called discovery

8 Pretrial Hearing If a plaintiff and their lawyer decide the case looks weak they may want to drop the suit If a plaintiff and their lawyer decide the case looks weak they may want to drop the suit If the defendant believes the plaintiff’s case is strong and they are likely to win they may offer them a settlement, in which the parties agree on an amount of money the defendant will pay the plaintiff If the defendant believes the plaintiff’s case is strong and they are likely to win they may offer them a settlement, in which the parties agree on an amount of money the defendant will pay the plaintiff

9 Pretrial Hearing Another way to resolve disputes is by mediation, where each side is given the opportunity to explain their side to a mediator who helps them find a solution Another way to resolve disputes is by mediation, where each side is given the opportunity to explain their side to a mediator who helps them find a solution

10 Pretrial Hearing They may also submit to arbitration, where a third party reviews the case and acts like a judge resolving the dispute They may also submit to arbitration, where a third party reviews the case and acts like a judge resolving the dispute Most civil cases are settled before trial because they are time-consuming and expensive and all sides are likely to prefer a settlement Most civil cases are settled before trial because they are time-consuming and expensive and all sides are likely to prefer a settlement

11 Trial If the parties do not settle, the case goes to trial; there may be a jury, or a judge who will hear the case alone; both sides present their cases If the parties do not settle, the case goes to trial; there may be a jury, or a judge who will hear the case alone; both sides present their cases In criminal trials the prosecution must prove the defendant guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” In criminal trials the prosecution must prove the defendant guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”

12 Trial In a civil case the plaintiff has to present only a “preponderance of evidence” enough to persuade the judge or jury the defendant was responsible for the incident In a civil case the plaintiff has to present only a “preponderance of evidence” enough to persuade the judge or jury the defendant was responsible for the incident

13 Trial After all evidence has been presented the judge or jury will decide on a verdict, or decision in favor of one of the parties After all evidence has been presented the judge or jury will decide on a verdict, or decision in favor of one of the parties

14 Trial If the plaintiff wins, a remedy is set; if the defendant wins, the plaintiff gets nothing and must pay court costs for both sides of the lawsuit If the plaintiff wins, a remedy is set; if the defendant wins, the plaintiff gets nothing and must pay court costs for both sides of the lawsuit

15 Appeal If the losing side feels the judge made errors or some other injustice took place, it may appeal the verdict to a higher court If the losing side feels the judge made errors or some other injustice took place, it may appeal the verdict to a higher court


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