Civil Cases

When negotiations or mediation fails, often the only remaining option is to file a lawsuit. A civil lawsuit alleges that an individual or company (the defendant) violated a law or failed to perform in a certain manner (finishing the painting job specified in a contract, for example).

All states have enacted laws that protect its citizens. Criminal statutes are, of course, the most visible. However, there are other state laws that make certain noncriminal actions illegal. For example, an automobile dealer cannot represent he is selling a new car when it is really used. These types of laws are known as consumer protection statutes.

Although most laws are set out in written form, the laws themselves evolved from certain duties required of individuals. For example, we all have the duty to not recklessly injure another person. Because laws cannot be written to cover every conceivable situation where an injury might occur, the common law of torts applies.