Search Court Judgments
Civil court cases are generally those lawsuits that pit one individual or company against another for some form of relief, whether financial or legal. By contrast, criminal trials are brought by the state against an individual or corporation, and the judgment is often a penalty (reimbursement, jail time, probation, or community service).
Civil cases are often decided by a judge, called a bench trial, rather than by a jury. But the majority – by far – of civil cases are settled or dismissed without a full trial. A judge may dismiss a case after the parties involved have come to an agreement, or when the judge determines that the case has no merit. A settlement is usually an agreement reached by the two sides outside of the courtroom. Settlements save time and money, as civil trials may require months to file all of the necessary documentation and many trips to the courthouse by the litigants’ attorneys.
The four conclusions of civil trials are:
Summary judgment is usually a decision in favor of the plaintiff. It can be arrived at in several ways, generally through the judge’s positive response to a motion made by one of the parties involved (or their attorney).
Typical scenarios include:
The decision whether to permit a summary judgment must pass a six-part test, including:
The procedure for filing a motion for summary judgment as well as the process for evaluation of the motion may vary from one state to another (for cases heard in state courts, not federal courts). Likewise, U.S. District Court rules may vary slightly from one jurisdiction to another regarding the proper procedure for such a motion.