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Search Court Judgments

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What Does a Court Judgment Report Include?

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All courts in the United States render judgments, including municipal courts, trial courts, civil courts, district courts, state courts, the Court of Appeals, and Supreme Courts. Therefore, searching and finding court records can be challenging. You must know the specific court, and if they don't have files online, you will have to visit the courthouse in person to review them. Using InfoTracer's powerful search engine, you can see court judgments within minutes from all over the country (availability will vary from state to state). Our databases are continuously updated with more than 5 billion public records. The types of information you can find in our judgement reports include when available:

  • Case Number
  • Case Details
  • Filings State
  • Parties Names
  • Filing Date
  • Judgment Status
  • Judgment Amount
  • Liens
  • Bankruptcies
  • Assets
  • Public Records
  • And More

What are Court Judgments?

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Court judgments are the final ruling in a court of law. They apply to both civil and criminal court actions. A judgment is the court's decision regarding all parties' rights and responsibilities pertaining to a legal proceeding. The judge(s) may or may not include an explanation of their ruling. Court judgments explicitly detail what each party must do and the legal reasons for this decision. Court orders are created from court judgments and must be carried out and enforced by the courts.

Types of Court Judgments?

Judgments may be issued orally or in writing. Following a court proceeding (either a trial or hearing), the judge will issue their decision. There are various types of court judgments.

Judgments Without a Trial

Judgments Without a Trial

The following are judgments that occur when there is no trial. These conclusions are made by a judge rather than a jury.

  • Default Judgment
    A default judgment is when a defendant fails to respond to a court summons or complaint. If they fail to show up in court on the designated day, the court may find in favor of the plaintiff
  • Summary Judgment
    A summary judgment occurs when the court pleadings and motions indicate that there is no need for a trial. A summary judgment happens in civil cases where the court finds that there is "no genuine dispute"
  • Consent Judgment
    A consent judgment is when all parties agree to dissolve the case without any ruling from the judge. Once an agreement is made, the judge will review the merits of the consent and approve it
  • Declaratory Judgment
    A declaratory judgment defines the rights and responsibilities of all parties, but it does not actually require anyone to do anything. The court does not enforce a decision with this type. The judgment may offer suggestions for resolution, but it will not enforce it
  • Interlocutory Judgment
    An interlocutory judgment is a temporary solution to an issue that requires a quick decision. They are not final and may be overturned by an appeal
  • Reserved Judgment
    A reserved judgment is held back and not released during or right after the trial. It may be released days, weeks, or even months after
  • Vacated Judgment
    A vacated judgment is one that is set aside, and a new trial is ordered. This type occurs in appellate courts. The verdict is set aside because the original trial failed to result in a court order that followed the law
  • Settlement
    A settlement is when all parties come to an agreement, and the court approves it. Settlements are the final ruling in most divorce cases and some civil lawsuits
Judgments Following a Trial

Judgments Following a Trial

These judgments are made by a judge or jury following a trial.

  • Judgment as Matter of Law (JMOL)
    A motion that is made by a party that claims the opposition doesn't have sufficient evidence to support their case. It is also known as a directed verdict
  • Renewed JMOL
    This is a party's second chance to receive judgment. It is usually decided after a jury has found a verdict and has that verdict altered. This type can only follow a JMOL motion
  • Judgment Non-Obstante Veredicto (JNOV)
    Also known as a notwithstanding the verdict, this is rendered at the end of a jury trial. It is specified by the judge overruling the jury's decision but may not result in a guilty verdict
  • Motion to Set Aside
    This is the motion to set aside a court's judgment when one of the parties is not satisfied with the rendered decision. These may take place after the judgment and may take years
  • Trial De Novo
    Known as a new trial, this occurs when an appellate court determines that the original judgment was not made in accordance with the law
Opinions Within Judgments

Opinions Within Judgments

Opinions Within Judgments

When more than one judge is involved in deciding a case, along with the judgment, each one may include their opinions. This happens most often in appellate cases where multiple judges review a case. Not all judges may agree with the decision; therefore, it generally comes down to the majority and the hierarchy of the judges involved. The Chief Justice may carry more weight than others. The types of opinions include:

  • Majority Opinion
    When more than one-half of the judges presiding agree on a decision, this is called majority opinion. Their judgments may set a precedent for future cases
  • Concurring Opinion
    When one or more judges agree with the final decision but do not agree on the reasoning, it is called a concurring opinion
  • Plurality Opinion
    When a group of judges cannot agree on a decision or the reasoning, it is called plurality opinion. The judges may agree on a final ruling, but they may differ in opinion on the reason
  • Dissenting Opinion
    When one or more judges disagree with the final ruling and provide their reasons for why they do, it is called a dissenting opinion
Enforcement of Judgements

Enforcement of Judgements

In criminal cases, the enforcement of judgments is simple. A local, state, or federal agency will handle doling out the punishment. However, in civil cases, the courts do not enforce judgments. Instead, all parties are relied upon to follow a national Code of Civil Procedure which means they will follow the instructions from the court on their own. However, that does not always happen. Therefore, if one party wins a judgment and the other party will not comply (pay or perform some other action), the winning party must return to court and file further action against the person or entity who will not comply.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Court Judgments

Who are the Parties Involved in a Court Judgement?

In civil cases, the plaintiff is the person who initiated the court action, and the defendant is the person who the court action is about. In criminal cases, there is the defense (the offender and their team of lawyers) and the prosecution (usually the district attorney or some other law agency). Both parties in a lawsuit are called litigants.

How is a Court Judgment Enforced?

In criminal cases, the courts, local, state, and federal law enforcement will handle enforcing the final judgment. In civil lawsuits, all parties are left to enforce the judgment themselves or file further motions to get help from the courts. For example, if the winner is a creditor, they may not initiate garnishment of wages unless the court orders it. If someone wins a money judgment or is awarded personal property, they may have difficulty collecting it without the help of a lawyer or filing additional court motions.

How to Remove a Court Judgement from Court Records

It can be tricky to have court judgments removed from court records. Depending on the type of case, the state, and specific court type, sometimes offenders can apply for expungement or sealing to hide or remove their court records from public view. Typically, offenders must pay court fees when filing for expungement.

What is a Judgment in Court?

A judgment is a final verdict in a court case. After both sides have presented their evidence, oral arguments, and other items, the judge or jury will decide in favor of one side or the other.

Are Court Judgments Public Records?

In many cases, yes. However, some cases or partial information may not be available. However, according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), court records and judgments are public. Things like social security numbers, bank account details, domestic violence and protection orders, child abuse, and other records may be sealed to protect someone’s privacy and the innocent. However, most court dockets are readily available for public viewing.

How to Collect a Small Claims Court Judgment

Even if you win a small claims court case, you may have trouble collecting the debt. Typically, plaintiffs in a small claims case will hire an attorney to help them collect what is owed to them. Unfortunately, the courts do not collect payment for you, and they do not enforce the verdict unless you file additional legal motions against the defendant. However, the court may offer some self-help tips on its website with suggestions on collecting winnings.

How Long Does a Court Judgement Last?

It is up to each state judiciary to determine how long a court judgment lasts. In some cases, and states, a judgment might last twenty years. However, that same decision may only be good for seven years in other states.

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