Sometimes two or more parties find themselves embroiled in a legal dispute over money or another specific performance (such as breach of contract). Rather than criminal sanctions imposed in Florida criminal court, the result is civil litigation.
Parties in civil litigation cases must head to the courtroom for a trial so a judge or jury can hear the facts from both sides and decide the matter. A lawyer who specializes in civil litigation (also known as a “litigator” or a “trial lawyer”) represents clients across a broad spectrum of related proceedings. These can include pretrial hearings and depositions, in addition to arbitration or mediation before court personnel or administrative agencies.
Arbitration and mediation are methods used to save the time and expense of going to court through processes that attempt to guide the parties toward settlement. Arbitration and mediation hearings are sometimes successful in their goal - both parties can walk away feeling that they’ve reached a manageable agreement. In some cases, however, parties are unable to reach an agreement in mediation or arbitration and must proceed to trial.
Types of Civil Litigation
Civil litigation encompasses a wide variety of legal disputes, and civil litigators specialize in one or two specific areas of practice. Several more common areas include:
- Product liability lawsuits
- Environmental law
- Landlord/tenant disputes
- Intellectual property disputes
- Personal injury claims
- Medical malpractice claims
- Construction liability lawsuits
- Real estate lawsuits
- Employment and labor disputes
- Anti-trust litigation
- Education law disputes
- Workers' compensation claims
- Divorce lawsuits
Loosely defined, civil litigation is a legal process wherein criminal charges and penalties are not at issue.