Civil claims are lawsuits filed by individuals or entities to redress perceived wrongs that are not necessarily criminal in nature. Examples include .
Criminal claims are charges filed by public officials with the intent of punishing the wrongdoer on behalf of all citizens. Always brought by a prosecutor in the name of the state or the U.S. The O.J. Simpson case is a high-profile example. Simpson was acquitted in the criminal case charging him with murder. He was later sued in a civil case for "wrongful death" and was adjudged "liable" for $30 million in money damages. Criminal cases determine guilt or innocence; civil cases determine responsibility -or not- for perceived misconduct, also known as "liability."
Liability means "responsibility for." In a civil case the judge or jury decide if a defendant is responsible for an action in which case s/he is deemed "liable" for the conduct and the damage it caused. Unlike in a criminal case which decides if a defendant is "guilty" or "not guilty."
An injunction is a court order to a defendant to not engage in certain actions, or to engage in certain conduct (otherwise put, to not refuse to engage in that conduct). Example: the judge orders a defendant to stop blocking the driveway of a neighbor
A proceeding in open court where arguments or evidence or requests for action are presented to a judge for decision. Required when a judge cannot decide an issue based solely on the papers filed by the two sides. Can range from a full jury-waived trial, to a simple motion for more time to do something.
A trial that takes place in front of a judge alone without any jury.
Jury Demand, Jury Waiver
Formal method for either party to request a trial by jury, or to specifically waive jury trial. The parties do not have to agree; jury demand by one party will suffice. If jury trial is waived or not requested, the case is tried to the judge alone - a proceeding known as a "bench trial."
Temporary Restraining Order
Civil Procedure, Rules of
Motion to Dismiss
Subpoena duces tecum
Burden of Proof
Preponderance of the Evidence
Beyond Reasonable Doubt