1. What is a Lawsuit?A process through which disputes are heard and settled. Two parties, a plaintiff and a defendant, enter into a formal contest to persuade an impartial third party to accept their version of the dispute.
2. Complexities in Hearing and Deciding Cases - Each side of a story has its own individual complexities. - A judge’s job is to make fair decisions that are accepted by both parties.
3. Common Laws- Common Laws were established so that citizens, as well as the courts, had a guide to follow when hearing and deciding rulings on cases. Why do people Sue?- The most common reason people sue one another is over the repayment of a debt.- Lawsuits also occur in order to determine responsibility between two parties.
4. Who is involved in Lawsuits?- Plaintiff – The individual who brings the lawsuit to court.- Defendant – The individual whom which the complaint is being made against.
5. Types of Lawsuits include:A. Civil Law- Lawsuits held between two parties that typically involve issues concerning contractual agreements, such as money, property rights, divorce, or slander. - Contractual Law – Lawsuits involving debt collection between two parties. Contractual law can also involve disputes over a service as well. - Lawsuits Over Tort – This body of law tries to make sense of wrongdoings, which harm the interest of another.
6. Types of Lawsuits cont:B. Criminal Law – Lawsuits held in enforcement of the law.- These cases vary based on the law, as well as the state in which the case is in question.- Criminal Law cases must meet jurisdictional requirements. Jurisdiction is determined by: - The Constitution - General statuses establishing jurisdiction for a level of court- Specific statuses authorizing the establishment of the court in question - Statuses creating other courts in the same country that may affect the jurisdiction of the court in question - Statuses dealing with specific subject matters
7. Texas Court Structure - Justice Courts- County Courts- District Courts- Court of Appeals- Supreme Court- Court of Criminal Appeals
8. What is the process of a lawsuit?- The Civil Process – Cases concerning Property Disputes, Breach of Contract,Family Matters (such as divorce), Negligence and Personal Injury - Pre Trial - The Trial Process - Jury Selection - Opening Statements - Presentation of Evidence - Defense Response - Closing Arguments - Jury Deliberation - Juror Consensus - Judge’s Decision
9. Options to Dispute Court’s Ruling:- Appeal the Outcome – After the ruling in a civil trial, both parties have the right to appeal the court’s decision. - The appeal is usually based on an error made during the trial.
10. What are your options when being sued for debt? - Make a list of all your debts - Try to settle outside of court If you are being sued for a debt and do not show up in court, default judgment will most likely occur. - Default Judgment will usually go against the party being sued.
11. What can you lose in a lawsuit?- Garnishment of wages- Money attained from selling personal property and assets- Depending on the type of lawsuit, individuals could serve jail timeWhat can be sued? - Individuals - Partnerships- Businesses- Religious Organizations
12. Do I need an Attorney?- Attorneys have an understanding of the laws, as well as how the law affects you.- Attorneys have experience representing clients in court and can help you resolve your legal issuesFor more information about Lawsuits or to consult with a professional attorney: Contact Allmand & Lee 214-884-4176