Sometimes, even the best laid plans can go awry. From the handshake deal that goes sour to the construction contract that goes unfulfilled, sometimes litigation is the only way to protect a party’s financial and/or personal interests.
A civil lawsuit is commenced by the filing of a complaint. The person or legal entity filing the complaint is called the “plaintiff.” The entity or the person who the lawsuit is brought against is called the “defendant.”Once the complaint is filed, the defendant must file an “answer” within a certain timeframe, or risk entry of a default judgment. From this point, there are a number of steps prior to the actual trial, including the discovery process, depositions, possible alternate dispute resolution, and pre-trial motions. Eventually, if not settled, a case will go to trial. Depending on the type of case, the trial may be decided by a jury or decided by the judge alone.
At trial, both the plaintiff and defendant are allowed to present witnesses in an attempt to persuade the jury and/or judge to rule in its favor. In a civil case, the plaintiff must carry the burden of proof by a “preponderance of evidence” (as opposed to a criminal trial where the prosecution must carry the burden of proof with the much higher standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”). Depending on the type of case, civil litigation may seek monetary damages, injunctions, equitable relief, or all of the above. Even after judgment is rendered by a jury or judge, the case may continue through post-trial matters, such as an appeal and in the case of a monetary verdict, there is the issue of collection of the judgment.
Civil litigation can be complex. Cases may hinge on compliance with strict legal requirements and the resolution of narrow legal issues. It is important that litigants have quality representation from the institution of a civil lawsuit, through trial and post-trial matters. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Hugh Green represent clients both as plaintiffs and defendants in a wide spectrum of civil matters including contract disputes, will contests, restraining orders, injunctions, and business and commercial litigation.
The Law Offices of Hugh Green provides such civil litigation representation in the greater Middle Tennessee area, including Wilson, Rutherford, Smith, Trousdale, Macon, Jackson, Sumner, DeKalb and Cannon counties.
For more information about civil litigation, contact the Law Offices of Hugh Green at (615) 444-5555.