Orange County Civil Litigation Lawyer
What is Civil Litigation in California?
Civil disputes that end up in court are referred to as civil litigation because it is typically a legal dispute formed by two parties rather than a large entity or governing body. It is also important to note that civil litigation is more of a branching legal area that includes various other more specific legal practices.
Civil litigation includes, but is not limited to:
- Tort Cases - involve wrongful acts like physical injury or defamation to someone's character.
- Business & Contract Cases - involve claims against/between businesses and cases where a party explicitly breached the terms of a signed contract.
- Real Estate Cases- involve disputes between tenants and landlords, these are typically eviction cases or other situations where the landlord/tenant feel they are owed something.
- Equitable Cases - involve monetary damages or actions that are devaluing a protected asset.
While civil litigation is a good move to protect your interest, many also opt for alternative dispute resolution options such as mediation or a legal negotiation out of court. It is important to know the legal complexities of civil litigation to better protect your interests, Harris Grombchevsky LLP has the experience you need to better assist you.
Contact our Orange County civil litigation attorneys today for more information regarding your specific civil case.
Alternative Dispute Resolution in California
Before moving ahead with a trial many legal bodies including attorneys and judges will try to find an alternate means of reaching a decision between the two disputing parties. This is due to the fact that trials are extremely costly and time consuming endeavors, if the two parties are able to reach an agreement out of court the judicial system does not become involved. However, special circumstances do exist like when minors are involved or the case is a class action lawsuit.
Commonly known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADS), the most common forms of ADS are arbitration and mediation:
- Mediation - is the process through which both parties enter into a mutually agreed upon settlement that is non-binding.
- Arbitration - on the other hand can be either non-binding or binding and is the process through which an impartial third party issues a decision after hearing both sides of the argument.
Understanding the California Civil Litigation Process
While ADS is the preferred method of resolving civil disputes it is not the only way. Many civil litigation cases do go to court and it is typically a multistage process that ends with a judgment. However, the process always begins with a legal complaint submitted by one party which outlines the details of the case and the purpose of the lawsuit.
The civil litigation process typically includes the following steps:
- Pre-Filing is the moment where each party gathers information on the case, but ultimately tries to settle the dispute out of court.
- If each party finds any form of ADS unsatisfactory the legal complaint is filed and the case enters Pleading, where the defendant must legally respond to the complaint.
- Discovery then moves forward where BOTH legal teams may question the opposing party and may request any relevant documents to build their case.
- The Trial is then formed and the dispute is issued a verdict by a judge/jury after both sides are heard in the court of law.
What Are The Grounds For An Appeal in CA?
If there is any reason to believe the verdict handed down was due to a legal error an appeal can be filed with the court. There are two kinds of errors that are accepted - a prejudicial error which means that a mistake took place in the courtroom (misconduct, incorrect jury instructions, etc.) or the law which the verdict was based off of was misinterpreted. Secondly, if there was no substantial evidence which directly led to the verdict an appeal can be filed.
There are 3 typical appeals processes the court may choose to follow, but it is important to note that an appeal is NOT a new trial and no new evidence may be submitted:
- De Novo - appeals are “from the beginning”, this is essentially starting the trial from beginning with all the same evidence to see if the conclusion is ultimately the same.
- Substantial Evidence - appeals review the records of the case to ensure that the verdict was based on substantial evidence.
- Abuse of Discretion - appeals are rare because it reviews the records of the trial for any form of arbitrary or absurd rulings made by the judge.
If you are in need of an Orange County civil litigation attorney, contact our firm today.