1. Civil Litigation

Civil Litigation

19 Videos: 47 Minutes



Topics: Learning Material

Introduction to Civil Litigation Procedure
This chapter introduces the concept of civil litigation (“suing someone” or “bringing a lawsuit”). More specifically, it explores the methods and procedure for enforcing one’s rights in a civil lawsuit. It introduces the individuals involved in a civl trial and provides a detailed explanation of the mechanics of a proceeding. It explains the authority for a court to adjudicate certain types of actions and explains what elements must be present for a court to legally subject individuals to its authority. Lastly, the chapter will explore the post-trial stages and the remedies and enforcement mechanisms available to the litigating parties. For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see Civil Litigation Procedure (Intro)

What is a “Lawsuit” or “Civil Action”?
  • Two or more parties addressing a legally recognizable dispute.
  • Tort, contract, property, or family law.

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is a "civil lawsuit" of "civil action"?

Who are the Parties to a Lawsuit?
  • Plaintiff
  • Defendant
  • Counterclaim
  • Third-party Defendants

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see Who are the parties to a lawsuit?

What is “Standing”?
  • Legally recognizable interest in dispute

Legal Wrong

Personal Stake

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is "standing" to sue?

What is Personal Jurisdiction
  • Court has authority over the parties to the case.
  • Service of Process - primary method of obtaining personal jurisdiction
  • The Long-Arm Statute - Out-of-State service of summons.

Due Process

Minimum Contacts

  • Minimum Contacts?

Resident of State

Instate Activity

Owns Property

Voluntary Submission

Presence in the State

For further information on service of process, the long-arm statute, "Due Process", "Minimum Contacts" with the state, and written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is "personal jurisdiction"?

What is a “Class Action”?
  • Representative Plaintiff
  • Suffered the same type of harm
  • Requirements for a Class Action

Certify the Class

Notice to Opt-Out

  • Cost of Litigation
  • State or Federal Court

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is a "class action"? and Procedures for Bringing a Class Action

What are “Pleadings”
  • Summons
  • Complaint
  • Answer
  • Default & Default Judgments

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What are the "pleadings"?

What is “Discovery”?
  • Interrogatories
  • Request for production
  • Depositions
  • Request for Admission

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is "discovery"?

What is the “Scope of Discovery”?
  • Relevant to dispute
  • Tendency to lead to evidence that may be relevant and admissible at trial

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is the "scope of discovery"?

What are “Motions”?
  • Motion to Compel Production
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Judgment on the Pleadings
  • Summary Judgment

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What are "motions" and how are they used?

What is a “frivolous case?”
  • Lacks any factual merit.
  • Frivolous case is based upon conjecture or false information.

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What are "frivolous cases?

How to select a jury?
  • Questionnaire and background check.
  • “voire dire
  • “for cause”
  • “preemptory challenges”

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is the process for selecting a jury?

What are the steps in a civil trial?
  • Pleadings
  • Motions
  • Jury selection
  • Opening statement to the jury.
  • Presentation of Evidence
  • Closing Statements
  • Jury Charges
  • Deliberation & Verdict
  • Judgment

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What are the steps involved in a civil trial?

What is the “Burden of Proof”?
  • “Preponderance of the evidence”
  • “Clear and convincing evidence”

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is the "burden of proof" in a civil trial?

How is a civil trial decided?
  • “Charging the jury”.
  • Deliberation
  • Judgment non obstante veredicto” (“JNOV”).
  • Appellate process begins.

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see How is a civil trial decided?

What is “joint and several” liability?
  • Apportioning liability among multiple parties.
  • Recovered from either party.

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is "joint and several liability"?

What is “appeal” of a civil trial decision?
  • File a request or notice of appeal with the trial court.
  • Grounds for appeal (allegations as to how the law was incorrectly applied) and the record of trial.
  • File a brief in support of their position
  • judges sitting together (“en banc”)
  • Present an oral argument in support of their position.
  • Appellate Opinion - “Precedent”

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is the process for "appeal"?

How to enforce a judgment
  • Encumbrance
  • Execution
  • Garnishment

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see How do parties "enforce" a civil judgment?

Res Judicata
  • Matter is decided between the parties.
  • Cannot sue for the same conduct twice.

For further written and video explanation, discussion and practice questions, see What is "res judicata"?


Flash Card - Study Practice

Q1
_______ is a private legal action between two or more parties addressing a legally recognizable dispute.

Q2
A civil lawsuit can be grounded in: _________.

A2
Tort, Contract, Property, Family law

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/what-is-a-civil-lawsuit/

Q3
A legal option when one or more of the parties have allegedly suffered a harm or loss as a result of the actions or inactions of the other party.

Q4
The party (individual or business) who files the action claiming that she has suffered a wrong at the hands of the defendant.

Q5
The party being sued in the civil action.

Q6
The party named by the plaintiff in the formal complaint filed with the court.

Q7
A claim by a named defendant against the plaintiff.

Q8
A counterclaim by the defendant against the plaintiff must be related in any way to the claims alleged by the plaintiff against the defendant. True or False

Q9
A party who is not initially named as a defendant in the plaintiff’s complaint but is added to the case by a defendant.

A9
Third-party Defendant

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/parties-litigation/

Q10
The requirement that a person have a legally recognizable interest in a dispute before the court.

Q11
Standing requires that a party seeking redress before the court, _______.

A11
must suffer a loss or harm caused by the defendant(s)

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/standing-sue/

Q12
The requirement for a party to have standing makes certain that there is indeed an adversarial relationship between the plaintiff and defendant? True or False

Q13
To have standing, a plaintiff must demonstrate the following element(s) to the court:

A13
Legal Wrong, Personal Stake in the Controversy, Controversy with Defendant

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/standing-sue/

Q14
Standing depends upon the validity or merits of the case. True or False

Q15
Standing requires that the plaintiff have suffered the harm prior to the commencement of the action. True or False

Q16
The requirement that the court has authority not only over the subject matter of the case but also over the parties to the case.

A16
Personal Jurisdiction

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/personal-jurisdiction/

Q17
This is jurisdiction over the person.

A17
in personam jurisdiction

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/personal-jurisdiction/

Q18
This is jurisdiction over real or personal property located within its geographical boundaries.

A18

Q19
A court obtains personal jurisdiction over the plaintiff when she files the legal action. True or False

Q20
The plaintiff must generally allege in the complaint the grounds for the court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over the defendant. True or False

Q21
The primary method of obtaining personal jurisdiction over a defendant is through ________

A21

Q22
This means that the court must deliver notice of the litigation (a summons) to the defendant.

A22

Q23
The summons provides notice to the defendant to _________.

Q24
In limited circumstances, a plaintiff may serve process on a defendant without personally delivering a summons? True or False

Q25
Generally, in order to serve the summons on the defendant, she must generally be within the state at the time of delivery. True or False

Q26
A _________ allows a court to serve process on a defendant located outside of the state’s boundaries.

Q27
Long-arm statute are subject to constitutional due process requirements? True or False

Q28
To meet constitutional standards, the long-arm statute can only be used to serve process on a defendant who is located outside of the state if she has ____________.

A28
minimum contacts with the state

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/personal-jurisdiction/

Q29
Minimum contacts means that the defendant has sufficient contact with the state to __________.

A29
not offend the notions of fair play and substantial justice

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/personal-jurisdiction/

Q30
Examples of minimum contacts with a state for purposes of personal jurisdiction include:

A30
Resident of State, Instate Activity, Registered in the State

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/personal-jurisdiction/

Q31
A special type of lawsuit in which one or more plaintiffs file suit on their own behalf and on behalf of all other persons who have a similar claim against the defendant.

Q32
In a class action, the individuals represented by the lead plaintiff(s) are known as a ____ of plaintiffs.

Q33
Class actions frequently involve matters in which no one member of the class has suffered a sufficient loss or harm to justify bringing the lawsuit alone? True or False

Q34
Class actions are beneficial to plaintiffs because they: _______

A34
allow plaintiffs to aggregate their claims into one trial; Parties avoid multiple legal actions involving the same issue; Reduces the cost of litigation for individual plaintiffs

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/what-is-a-class-action-lawsuit/

Q35
The primary hurdle for the plaintiff is to “certify” all potential plaintiffs as a class. True or False

Q36
To certify a class, the plaintiff(s) must present evidence of the following:

A36
Numerosity, Commonality, Typicality, Adequacy

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/class-action-lawsuit-certify-a-class/

Q37
Once certified, the lead plaintiff must give notice of the litigation to all prospective members of the class who can be found through reasonable efforts of their ability to _____________.

Q38
The lead plaintiffs in the class action must generally pay all of the costs associated with bringing the suit. True or False

Q39
Plaintiffs may be able to bring a class action in state or federal court. True or False

Q40
State class action suits must demonstrate the court’s _________ jurisdiction over the case and _______ jurisdiction over the defendants.

Q41
_________ requires that all plaintiffs be from different states than all defendants.

Q42
_________ allows for the diversity action in federal court when only one plaintiff is diverse from one defendant.

Q43
In both complete and minimum diversity situations, the amount in controversy must be at least ____.

Q44
______ are the legal documents that parties use to communicate their grievances and responses to each other and to the court.

Q45
_______ is the document notifying a defendant of the pending litigation and directing her to respond or appear before the court on a given date.

Q46
_______ lays out the plaintiff’s legal grievances or causes of action against the defendant.

Q47
_______ is the defendant’s response to the complaint.

Q48
The defendant may present a counterclaim against the plaintiff in the same case. True or False

Q49
Failure by a defendant to respond to a complaint within the allotted period to answer is known as ______.

Q50
If a defendant fails to respond to an answer within a specific period, the court may rule in favor of the plaintiff. This is known as a __________.

A50

________ is the process of identifying and obtaining any information or evidence that is relevant and material to the dispute.

Q52
________ are a series of written statements in question format and directed to the other party.

Q53
________ is a request that one party turn over any documents or other physical evidence that are relevant to the dispute or are likely to lead to relevant evidence.

A53

Q54
________ is a formal interview of an individual taken when that person is sworn to an oath of truth (under oath).

Q55
________ is a statement of facts presented to the other party that seeks to identify and establish the facts that are not in dispute.

A55
A request for admission

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/steps-discovery-process/

Q56
A party is permitted to seek evidence that is _______ to the dispute.

Q57
If a party contests discovery requests, the court will determine whether the request is valid and the extent of the required disclosure. True or False

Q58
________ is a method by which a party asks the court to do something.

A58

Q59
________ is a request to the court to force the other side to produce the requested information (discovery).

A59
Motion to Compel Production

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/motions/

Q60
________ is a request to the court to bar the other party from bringing a particular cause of action against the defendant based upon the time period.

A60
Statute of Limitations

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/motions/

Q61
________ is a request by the defendant to the court to rule in her favor based upon the information in the pleadings.

A61
Judgment on the Pleadings

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/motions/

Q62
_________ is a request to the court by a defendant to rule in her favor based upon the plaintiff’s presentation of evidence.

A62
Directed Verdict

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/motions/

Q63
_________ is a request to the court by a defendant to rule in her favor based upon the entire presentation of evidence

A63
Summary Judgment

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/motions/

Q64
______ is a civil lawsuit that lacks any factual merit.

A64
A frivolous case

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/frivolous-cases/

Q65
The rules of procedure in civil trials seek to prohibit the filing of frivolous cases. True or False

Q66
Individuals called to serve jury duty are referred to as the ________.

Q67
The trial jury is selected through a process known as ________.

Q68
The purpose of the voir dire is to identify any biases that may prejudice the juror’s ability to be fair and impartial in the execution of her duties. True or False

Q69
During the selection of a jury, each party is given the ability to strike a limited number of jurors from the pool for any non-discriminatory reason. These are known as _____________.

A69
preemptory challenges

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/selecting-jury/

Q70
A civil trial begins with the ________.

Q71
Following the pleadings, the parties will generally submit a number of motions to the court for various reasons. This is generally known as ________.

A71

Q72
Once the defendant completes her presentation of evidence, the jurisdiction may allow the plaintiff a chance to rebut the defendant’s case with any additional presentation of evidence. True or False

Q73
At the conclusion of the plaintiff’s “rebuttal”, the defendant is allowed the opportunity to rebut the plaintiff’s rebuttal. This is known as the _________.

Q74
__________ in a trial refers to the responsibility of a party to produce evidence in support of her allegations.

Q75
The burden of proof in a civil trial is a finding of liability by _________ or ___________

A75
beyond a reasonable doubt, clear and convincing evidence

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/burden-of-proof-in-a-civil-trial/

Q76
At the conclusion of all evidence and arguments, the judge instructs the jury on the applicable law to apply to the facts. This is known as _________.

Q77
Following the jury instruction by the judge, the jury will recess to deliberate about the facts and apply them to the applicable law. True or False

Q78
To find a defendant liable or guilty, the jury must find that the facts demonstrate each element required by the statute consistent with __________.

Q79
The losing party will generally move the court for a verdict in her favor, in contrast to the jury’s findings. This is known as a ___________.

A79
judgment notwithstanding the verdict (“JNOV”)

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/how-is-a-civil-trial-decided/

Q80
____________ is a manner of apportioning liability among multiple parties.

A80

Q81
To be able to appeal a trial verdict, the losing party in a case must file a request or notice of appeal with the trial court. True or False

Q82
The appellate hearing generally consists of several judges sitting together _______ to hear the parties’ arguments.

Q83
The appellate court’s written opinion about these matters becomes a part of the common law and serves as _________ for the future application of that law by subordinate courts.

Q84
Which of the following are methods by which a party may enforce a court’s judgment?

A84
Encumbrance, Execution, Garnishment

Resource Video: https://thebusinessprofessor.com/enforcing-judgment/

Q85
__________ is where a judgment holder files a lien on property of the debtor, such as the real property registered to the debtor.

Q86
__________ is the method by which a court’s judgment is enforced through the executive branch.

Q87
__________ is similar in nature to execution but involves a defendant’s employee wages.

Q88
___________ is a legal expression meaning that the legal dispute between the parties is decided.

A88

Q89
___________ prevents successive lawsuits involving the same facts or occurrence.

A89

Q90
___________ prevents a plaintiff from suing the defendant for the same conduct under the same or a separate cause of action.

A90



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