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. In a civil case, both sides have to agree whether a case will be heard by a jury or the judge alone.
Jury Demand, Jury Waiver
Temporary Restraining Order
Civil Procedure, Rules of
Motion to Dismiss
Subpoena duces tecum
Burden of Proof
Preponderance of the Evidence
Beyond Reasonable Doubt