Civil litigation is the branch of law that deals with non-criminal legal actions, such as contract disputes and personal injury lawsuits. Lawyers who work on civil litigation handle not only courtroom representations, but pretrial consultations and investigations, and post-trial procedures, including enforcement of verdicts or settlements. Civil litigation refers to a lawsuit involving two or more parties seeking monetary damages or “specific performance” instead of criminal charges. Specific performance refers to a court order requiring the party being sued to take a specific action as an alternative to paying financial damages.
If you reside in Albany or its surrounding area, you will not find a more accomplished civil litigation attorney than Mark J. Sacco, the founder and lead attorney of The Law Office of Mark J. Sacco in Latham, New York.
Types of Civil Litigation
While television and movies tend to focus on the criminal aspects of the law, civil litigation is extremely common. Civil litigation may be filed to settle cases dealing with the following:
When two parties disagree about whether one or the other is failing to meet the terms of a legal contract, a civil lawsuit may be brought. Contract disputes occur when one or more party who signed a contract accuses the other of refusing, or being unable, to fulfill contractual obligations. These disputes may involve disagreements between:
- Landlords and tenants about rental costs, noise issues, sanitation, extermination, subletting, or eviction
- Employers and employees about hiring raises, benefits, working conditions, discrimination, retaliation for whistleblowing, or wrongful termination,
- Intellectual property disputes over trademarks, copyrights, patents, or branding
- Property disputes concerning boundaries, title, or zoning
Whichever type of contract dispute you’re facing, it is important to have a savvy civil litigator on your side. Such cases can be complicated and laws often differ from state to state (though some federal statutes may also apply) so it’s essential to have a civil litigation attorney who is fluent in current local, state and federal law. In upstate New York, Mark J. Sacco is well-prepared to give you excellent legal representation in the area of contract disputes. He always makes your best interests his priority.
Committing a tort means engaging in a wrongful act that infringes on the rights of another. There are four elements to tort law: duty, breach of duty, causation, and injury. Torts frequently concern personal injury cases in which negligence is involved. Personal injury cases include:
- Medical malpractice (mistakes in diagnosis, surgical errors, birth injuries)
- Vehicular accidents (car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian accidents)
- Construction accidents (falls from heights, crush injuries, burns, electrocution)
- Premises liability (slip and falls, dog bites, environmental toxins)
- Product liability (defective manufacture or design that causes physical harm)
The statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in New York State is generally 3 years from the time the injury was inflicted. Exceptions are made, however, if the plaintiff could not have become aware of the injury until a later date. This exception is most often made in medical malpractice cases when a medical error doesn’t result in symptoms for a longer period of time.
Civil Litigation in Conjunction with Criminal Cases
It should be noted that civil lawsuits may also be filed to seek justice in criminal cases. It is possible for victims of assault or even the families of murder victims to sue the defendant for monetary damages. In such situations, even if the defendant is acquitted in the criminal case, she or he may have to pay very substantial damages for the crime in a civil lawsuit. This is because the burden of proof for a civil case is lower than that for a criminal conviction. The plaintiff stands a good chance of winning the civil litigation even if the defendant is found “not guilty” in the criminal case.
Differences Between Civil Litigation and Criminal Cases
In either a civil or criminal case, the plaintiff must meet a burden of proof, but, as previously mentioned, that burden is considerably higher in criminal cases. Whereas in a criminal case, guilt must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” in a civil case the burden of proof is based on a “preponderance of evidence,” or by “clear and convincing” standards.
Another distinction between civil and criminal lawsuits is that civil cases are more liable to be settled out of court. As a matter of fact, studies show that over 90 percent of civil suits never make it to trial. Also, the punishments meted out in criminal cases often include incarceration, while civil cases only result in monetary damages. There is also more flexibility in a civil settlement since it is normally outside the purview of judicial review. The Law Office of Mark J. Sacco will evaluate your case carefully to see whether you have a winnable case. If so, we will fight vigorously to see that you win just compensation.
Class Action Civil Litigation
In some cases, your civil litigation attorney may be representing an entire group of individuals who have suffered similar personal injuries as a result of negligence by the same defendant. Such cases are most often cases concerning defective products, such as cars, tools, toys, or food products. Class action suits may also be filed when a large number of individuals have been exposed to the same toxic substances due to the negligence of a particular person or company.
Complaints Against Government Agencies
Though we are all familiar with the old saying “You can’t fight City Hall,” the fact of the matter is that you can. If you feel that a city law or policy, or even a federal statute, has harmed you, you do have the right to bring a civil lawsuit.
The Law Office of Mark J. Sacco Will Fight to Bring You a Just Settlement
If you have been injured physically or financially, and believe civil litigation is your best remedy, contact our office as soon as possible. We will listen to you carefully, investigate the particulars of your case and treat you with the respect, compassion and professionalism you deserve. We can be reached by phone, email or through a form on our website.