Civil Litigation Overview and TipsCivil Litigation is an all encompassing term that essentially describes every sort of lawsuit that is not criminal. In criminal law cases, some governmental entity, whether the U.S. Attorney, District Attorney, City Attorney, etc., is bringing charges against a private citizen for allegedly violating some criminal law.

Thus, while civil cases can also involve governmental entities, the basis of the legal claim deals with some alleged violation of a civil law or principle of the relevant jurisdiction. Keep in mind to that in civil law matters, it may be a citizen that is suing the government for allegedly infringing their rights--think Environmental Law, Intellectual Property, Contract Law, Torts, etc. (The potential issues associated with sovereign immunity are beyond the scope of this discussion.)

If you receive notice that you are being sued, here are 3 tips to keep in mind:

  1. Ignoring a lawsuit will not make it go away. Legal problems do not simply disappear. This is true whether in civil suits or with the government through a notification from the IRS. In fact, ignoring a suit may result in a default judgment, meaning that the other party automatically wins.
  2. Consult an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney is your best defense.  An attorney trained in the area of law relevant to your case will be knowledgeable about the procedures involved, including relevant deadlines for filings and will further apt at making persuasive arguments to a judge or a jury in your defense (including through pleadings, written correspondence, and at hearings).  An attorney will also be able to determine whether a settlement might be in your best interests, and more importantly, whether one being offered is fair.
  3. Don't communicate with the opposing party or their counsel without your attorney's knowledge. Engaging in communication with the opposing party may reveal sensitive information, strategy, or other critical information. It may also add an additional layer of conflict, or complicate settlement efforts your attorney has been engaging in. Additionally, the rules of professional ethics generally forbid attorneys to knowingly contact opposing parties whom they know are represented for these sorts of reasons.

Thus, if you find yourself at the opposing end of a Civil Lawsuit, contact an experienced Civil Law Attorney to learn about your rights. Failure to act in a timely manner may waive your right to a legal defense.

Posts on the LawInfo Weblog are meant solely for informative purposes and address general matters. Content on this weblog does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. Legal matters depend on the relevant laws of your state and facts of your situation. Contact an experienced attorney for legal advice regarding your case.