Chapter 1: Litigation and the Paralegal Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 1: Litigation and the Paralegal Deck (56)
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Civil Litigation

The process of resolving private disputes through the court system



A court proceeding in which parties to a lawsuit present their evidence to a judge or jury and the judge or jury make a decision in favor of one party


Substantive Law

Laws that determine parties' rights and obligations as opposed to the procedures used to enforce those rights


Procedural Law

Laws that set forth legal procedures or methods used by parties to enforce their rights or to oppose claims made against them


Criminal Law

Laws that prohibit conduct that society deems harmful and provide for punishment in the form of jail, fines, or probation


Criminal Procedure

The rules that apply in a criminal case and determine how a criminal case proceeds through the legal system; these are based on federal and state constitutions, codes, rules of court, and cases


Civil Procedure

The rules that apply in a civil case and determine how a civil case proceeds through the legal system; in federal courts many of the rules are found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure


Civil Laws

Laws dealing with private disputes between parties



The party who initiates a civil or criminal lawsuit in court



The party who is sued in either a civil or criminal case



Usually the first document filed in court in connection with a lawsuit; this sets forth the allegations or contentions of the plaintiff and states the basis for the action and the type of relief requested from the court



An initial document filed with the court asking the court for some order. Sometimes petitions are filed in conjunction with a complaint (e.g., asking the court to appoint a guardian for a party who cannot file a lawsuit); sometimes petitions are filed in lieu of a complaint (e.g., in certain jurisdictions petitions and not complaints are used in divorce cases)



Pleadings are documents that describe the nature of the dispute and, most often, contain the factual contentions of the parties. In a contested case, both the plaintiff and the defendant file pleadings. The process of civil litigation formally begins when the plaintiff files a written document in court. This document is generally called a complaint, although in some instances it is referred to as a petition. In the complaint, or petition, the plaintiff alleges or claims that the defendant has done something, or has failed to do something, that entitles the plaintiff to relief. As noted earlier, the relief is frequently money but may involve nonmonetary matters, such as determining the validity of a will, issuing an injunction (an order requiring the defendant to do something or to stop doing something or ordering specific performance of a contract (an order requiring the defendant to comply with the terms of an agreement)



The initial pleading filed by the defendant in a lawsuit, contesting the factual and/or legal basis for the lawsuit



Failure to file an answer or other responsive pleading within the proper time; can eventually lead to a default judgment



In a civil court action, the final decision from the trial court



In a civil case, the procedures by which all parties have the right to obtain information from other parties, and in some cases from witnesses; includes such procedures as depositions, interrogatories, and production of documents



A request that a judge make a ruling or take some other action, most often in connection with a pending lawsuit


Writ of Execution

A court order authorizing the seizure and sale of a person's property to satisfy a judgment against that party


Federal Judicial Center

An education and research agency for the federal courts, publishes a "Manual for Complex Litigation," describing approaches that trial judges have found useful for complex cases in federal court


Personal Injury Litigation

Litigation resulting from physical or emotional injuries. Types of personal injury litigation are automobile accidents, accidents occurring on another's property, product liability, and medical and other professional malpractice


Employment Litigation

Litigation related to employment disputes, such as claims of unlawful discharge or discrimination


Intellectual Property Litigation

Litigation related to rights in intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, trade names, and copyrights


Construction litigation

Litigation related to claims of faulty construction; damages may include claims for property damage or, in some cases, injuries resulting from the faulty construction


Securities Litigation

Litigation related to stocks and other securities, which often involve class action claims by stockholders against a corporation or its directors and/or officers


Business Litigation

Litigation related to general business matters, such as contract disputes and partnership disputes


Real Estate Litigation

Litigation related to real property, such as ownership rights, possession rights, and landlord-tenant issues


Asbestos Litigation

Litigation related to the various diseases and injuries caused by exposure to asbestos


Civil Rights Litigation

Litigation related to damages claimed as a result of the violation of one's state or federal civil rights


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Ways to resolve a civil dispute without resort to a legal action