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Generally speaking, civil cases are conflicts between people or businesses. Most often, these conflicts involve money but aren’t restricted to finances. One party, the plaintiff, claims to have been somehow harmed by the actions by the other party, the defendant. The plaintiff files a complaint hoping to relief from the court.
Cases can end in a variety of ways:
The plaintiff may be awarded damages or money to compensate for the suffering caused. The result may also be an injunction that prevents the plaintiff from doing something or a declaratory judgment, where the court determines the meaning of a contract.
A civil case does not need to go all the way to court as the parties can settle it themselves. At any time during the case, the parties can agree to resolve the dispute and reach a compromise.Our goal is to make sure you remain whole. Whether this means getting you the payout you deserve or protecting your interests from the other party. We also make sure you know the potential outcomes and help you set realistic expectations.
There are a wide variety of cases that can be handled in court. Here are four of the most common types of cases you may encounter:
1. Tort Claims
A tort is a wrongful act, not counting a breach of contract, that results in an injury to someone’s person, property, reputation, or so on. If the plaintiff wins the case, the result is likely financial compensation. Some common torts are personal injury, battery, defamation, fraud, and negligence.
An intentional tort is when an individual or entity purposefully engages in conduct that causes damage to someone else — for example, striking someone during a fight would meet this definition. While this might seem like a criminal injury, it can also be a tort. If the government decides to file criminal charges, the result could be a fine or jail time. The lawsuit would seek monetary compensation for damages, like hospital bills or medical care.
Negligence is the most common type of tort. Instead of involving deliberate actions, negligence is when an individual or entity is careless and fails to provide a duty to another person. Slip and fall cases are the most common negligence cases.For example, a broken staircase without proper support or warning could cause someone to fall. The owner of the stairs was negligent.
2. Breach of Contract
When someone fails to perform some term of a contract, it’s considered a breach. Both written and oral agreements can be breached. For example, not completing a job, not paying in full, or failing to deliver goods, and so on.
There are several types of contract breaches. Actual breaches are when one party refuses to perform the terms of the contract adequately.
For example, if you had a contract with company to build a fence. The company takes your money, builds half of your fence, and never returns. They breached the contract by not completing the job. On the flip side, your contractor in Los Angeles might also seek a breach of contract suit if he finished the job, but you do not pay the amount agreed upon.Anticipatory breaches are when one of the parties to the contract informs the other that the agreement will not be completed. This could happen if, for example, your wedding planner lets you know that she will no longer be planning your wedding. Depending on the terms of your contract, she could be in breach.
3. Equitable Claims
An equitable claim asks the court to order a party to stop or start a specific action. These claims can also be combined with requests for monetary damages. Equitable claims can result in a temporary restraining order or an injunction. For example, someone might make an equitable claim to stop the destruction of property, improper transfer of land, or the solicitation of a business’ customers.
Imagine that you own an art gallery in Los Angeles and signed a contract with a local artist to display a particular piece. If the artist doesn’t deliver the piece, a court can then order that artist to deliver what was promised or pay a fine. In some cases, the court may modify the contract to make it fairer for both parties. The court may also cancel or rescind the agreement altogether if the deal is deemed overly unfair.
4. Landlord-Tenant Issues
Courts handle all kinds of disputes between landlords and tenants. For example, if alandlord is attempting to evict a tenant for some reason or if tenants need to sue for the return of their security deposits.
One of the most essential landlord-tenant issues is not necessarily about the substance of the problem, but if the claim was filed correctly.
For example, a landlord i can not simply change the locks to evict a tenant. This “self-help eviction” can get the landlord in trouble, even if the tenant legally deserved an eviction. A court makes the eviction decision, not the landlord. Working outside of the proper procedure can work against the landlord’s interests.
We know how to represent your interests regardless of the situation. If you are unsure if you even have a civil case or don’t know how to respond to a suit against you, contact us today to discuss your options.