Legal Topics


Getting Your Civil Case Started

So you want to take an opposing party to a civil court? There are several factors one must understand before taking their case before their state civil court. We should start with terminology one must know before moving forward. Plaintiff: The person or party begins the case by filing a complaint. Defendant: The person or party being sued by the plaintiff. Petitioner: In some cases, the person or party filing a complaint is called this. Respondent: In some cases, the person or party defending themselves is called this.


It is a given that every state has their set of rules and code, so terms and definitions will differ. Now the next step in creating a case for civil courts is asking oneself simple questions. First, do you have a valid case? Do you have legal basis for a case? Submitting a frivolous lawsuit can be detrimental to the plaintiff because fines can be ordered against. It will add up along with attorneys fees. Second, has the statute of limitations expired? Statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit on how long a plaintiff can seek a legal remedy. It’s basically how long your case has legal relevancy. If you are petitioning a case that occurred ten years, the statute of limitations will prevent the case seeing a court. The amount of time passed is too great and has passed, thus eliminating your claim.


Getting started.

Persons or attorneys representing them can file a claim with the courts. The court issues the summons. The summons is just that, it is obligation to the defendant (and the plaintiff as well) to be present in the courtroom to have their case heard.


Of course, the venue matters too. The case must be heard in the proper county. It can be heard in either county where the plaintiff or defendant resides. If no party resides in the county, then the case will be heard in the county where the action took place.


The summons and affidavit of service is a process where the case is notarized and filed with the county clerk. This is the official document that states legal proceedings will take place against the defendant and for the plaintiff. Upon sending the summons, another document is required to state that proceedings will take place. The affidavit of service is document filled out by the party and/or their legal representation. This states that the petition for legal proceedings has been received and a defense will be taken. Again, this needs to be filled, notarized and filed by the county clerk. As one side issues the summons, the other completes the affidavit of service. A court date is issued after that.


Image credit: ohioduidefense on Pixabay


Subscribe Your Email for Newsletter