Civil laws deal with disputes and conflicts between people and organizations, where the plaintiff has suffered some sort of loss at the hands of the defendant. The private relations between members of the community are resolved under the civil law.
Types of Civil Cases
There are usually five types of common civil law cases that are heard in the courts today, these are dealt in the civil court to make sure that justice is served.
Contract Disputes: These occur when one or more parties who signed a contract cannot or will not fulfill their obligations. Occasionally, this is due to ambiguity in the contract or when one party fails to pay the money they owe in the contract.
Property Disputes: Property law involves disputes about property ownership and damages to one person’s property or real estate. There are many different types of property disputes that a civil litigation attorney may handle. One common one is property line disputes, in which one party alleges that a neighbor crossed the property line boundary between their two homes for building or planting.
Torts: A tort is a civil case in which one party alleges that another caused them physical or emotional harm. Tort cases can take many different forms, and can relate to a person’s personal safety, safety of their property, and financial security. Common torts related to accidents and injury include assault or battery cases, and negligence cases in which one alleges that a caregiver did not do their assigned duty.
Class Action Cases: Class action cases are similar to tort cases, only the prosecution in these cases represents a group or class of people who have all been injured by the same thing. These are common in cases of defective products or exposure to hazardous materials in which the faulty item injured multiple people before it was recalled.
Complaints Against the City: Complaints against the city or federal government are generally settled out of court, but if the government refuses to settle, the complaints are generally tried as civil cases. These cases can be brought in any case where the plaintiff alleges that city law or policy has caused harm to its citizens.
Civil Case Example
One of the biggest recorded examples of civil law cases was Liebeck v McDonald’s in 1995, when 79 year old Stella Liebeck purchased a hot coffee from Mcdonald’s while in the car with her grandson. She opened the lid to mix the creamery when the coffee spilt on her, leaving deep tissue burns that led to surgeries and severe pains.
She filed a civil lawsuit against McDonald’s under the torts of strict liability and negligence. The case became controversial because she was suing the restaurant over their coffee being too hot. The verdict was given that the plaintiff had suffered severe pain, surgeries, loss of income and pleasure and the defendant’s product- coffee- was too hot to drink. This constituted breach of implied warranty that the product was safe to use.
Which of the following would be an example of a Civil Lawsuit?
Which of the following would be an example of a civil lawsuit?
- George is being prosecuted for bank fraud.
- The government has initiated an action against Jeff for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
- Gretta hit Rita in the bar during happy hour. Rita is now suing for her injuries.
- The district attorney is bringing Ali to court for violating the city’s keg ordinance.
The answer is: Gretta hit Rita in the bar during happy hour. Rita is now suing for her injuries.
This is a classic example of a civil lawsuit, which is a dispute among people, where the victim has suffered some kind of loss. In Rita’s case: bodily injury.
Famous Civil Cases
One very famous civil case example is of the sexual harassment civil class action lawsuit of Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co. in 1997. It was filed in 1988 on behalf of Lois Jenson and other female workers at the EVTAC mine in Eveleth, Minnesota on the state’s northern Mesabi Range, which is part of the Iron Range. She claimed that she and other female employees were constant victims of sexual harassment, abuse, threats, stalking and intimidation.
The case moved forward slowly; with Jensen leaving the mine and was diagnosed with PTSD shortly after. The case moved forward quickly then when it moved to trial. The trial’s decision was appealed and reversed, and another trial was set. In 1998, just before the case moved on to trial, fifteen women settled with Eveleth Mines for a total of $3.5 million. This case was the first class action lawsuit against women sexual harassment in workplaces, and created new set of boundaries against discrimination in the corporate sector.
Loving v. Virginia in 1967 was one more case that shattered boundaries of racism especially when it came to interracial marriages. In Virginia, interracial marriages were banned and when the couple married, they were arrested and sentenced to 25 years in jail. Soon the Supreme Court ruling came out which said that this ban of interracial marriages conflicted with the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment to the Constitution. This was a milestone case which permitted marriages and relationships between blacks and whites.
Civil Suit Process
A civil lawsuit is given full attention in the court, especially if the grounds of the lawsuit are genuine and time-bound. Civil cases are different from criminal ones, but the proceeding and suit process is almost the same. Here are five steps that are most common in a civil suit process.
- Pleading: In this first stage, both parties are required to fill in the paperwork and file the case with the right court, and explain their side of the story. The plaintiff files a complaint, and the defendant files an answer.
- Discovery: This is the litigation stage that is given most time, because the plaintiff and defendant gather evidence and information to strengthen their own cases. This stage starts as soon as the pleading stage ends, and it pretty much continues until trial. Evidence is obtained through interrogations, witness accounts, demand for documents, public accounts etc., and this stage also keeps the parties from hiding information from one another.
- Trial: A civil lawsuit goes to trial if the case hasn’t been resolved yet, and this also marks the end of the discovery process. Both parties submit a brief to the judge where they outline their stances and any evidence they’re wishing to present during trial. The plaintiff speaks their case first and presents evidence, and the defense takes charge later on. When the trial is done, a jury is asked to make the decision. There is also an option for the party to challenge the verdict, or file motion for a new trial.
- Appeal: This is the final stage of a civil lawsuit proceeding where either party can appeal to the court if they’re not satisfied with the decision. The civil lawsuit is then presented to the appellate court where it is reviewed again with all the evidence and if there has been an error, the original verdict can be reversed or order a new trial in the trial court.
Civil lawsuits solve disputes among people, entities and organizations. For civil lawsuits, cases like torts and contract breach are very common, and their punishment is usually heavy fines. There have been numerous examples and famous cases about civil lawsuits, and sometimes one decision set the bar for new decisions as a benchmark.