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What Is Civil Litigation? How Is It Different From Criminal Litigation?

There are two systems in the American legal system that exist to resolve legal conflicts, punish violations of the law, and compensate victims who have been wronged. One is civil law, and the other is criminal law. Litigation is the act of resolving these legal conflicts through the court.

Civil litigation refers to resolving legal conflicts between private individuals or organizations. These are usually considered crimes by an individual or organization against another individual or organization. This differs from criminal litigation to resolve legal conflicts between an individual or organization and the government. These are usually matters which are considered crimes by an individual or organization against the broader public and society at-large, as represented by the state or federal government. This is true even if/when the direct victim is another individual/organization.

A few examples of civil matters that would be solved through civil litigation include:

  • Divorce and Child Custody
  • Trademark, Copyright, and Patent Violations
  • Professional Malpractice and Liability
  • Personal Injury, Product Liability, and Property Damage
  • Slander, Libel, and Defamation
  • Civil Rights Violations
  • Lawsuits Against Government Officials and Agencies
  • Employment and Labor Violations
  • Business Torts, Breach of Contract, and Related Disputes

A few examples of criminal matters that would be solved through criminal litigation include:

  • Assault, Battery, and Violent Crime
  • Murder and Manslaughter
  • Theft and Larceny
  • Drunk or Drug-affected Driving
  • Drug Crimes (including Manufacturing, Possession, and Distribution

What Is The Difference Between State Civil Litigation And Federal Civil Litigation?

Beyond the civil/criminal division of litigation, there is another important division when it comes to jurisdiction (or, who has legal deciding power over a matter). Some cases are under the jurisdiction of the federal government (federal civil litigation), while others are under the jurisdiction of the state where the matter took place (state civil litigation).

The Constitution gives the federal government narrow jurisdiction over several specific areas of the law. Cases that litigate those matters are heard and decided by the federal government. When it comes to civil litigation, the federal government has jurisdiction over cases that involve:

  • Violations of Constitutional rights and/or federal law
  • Contested money over $75,000
  • Conflicts between citizens of different states
  • The United States as a plaintiff or defendant
  • Bankruptcy law
  • Copyright, patent, and intellectual property law
  • Maritime law

Each individual state government, on the other hand, has its own broad jurisdiction over essentially every other civil litigation matter, so long as it does not conflict with the jurisdiction of the federal government or with federal laws or rights protected by the Constitution. These matters are decided by state and local courts which are created and overseen by each state. When it comes to civil litigation, the state has jurisdiction over a wide range of matters that affect daily life, including cases involving:

  • Family law (including divorce and custody matters)
  • Contract disputes and business torts
  • Personal Injury
  • Individuals or organizations suing state/local government agencies and officials
  • Probate, wills, and estate law

In addition, there are some civil matters over which both the state and federal government have jurisdiction. In those situations, a person can decide whether they want to litigate their case through the State Courts or the Federal Courts. For instance, both the State of Texas and the Federal Government have laws on the books forbidding employment discrimination. If you have an employment discrimination claim, you can choose to take that claim to either court system. Depending on the details of your case, one or the other may be more advantageous to you. A civil litigation attorney could help in determining which is the better option for you.

How Can A State Civil Litigation Attorney Or A Federal Civil Litigation Attorney Help Me?

In any substantial civil litigation case–whether it is litigated in State or Federal Court–an experienced civil litigation attorney is absolutely essential for a successful outcome. Some people are under the false assumption that attorneys are not as necessary in civil litigation as they are in criminal litigation. This is simply not true–that is, if you care about the outcome of your case. When it comes to both state and federal civil litigation, your odds of success increase exponentially with the help of a skilled civil litigation attorney. This is true whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant.

Who Is Attorney Peter Corcoran?

Attorney Peter Corcoran is a skilled, knowledgeable civil litigation attorney. For over 20 years, Attorney Corcoran has been serving the Texarkana community through civil litigation in Texas State Courts, as well as on the national stage in Federal Courts. When it comes to civil federal litigation, Attorney Corcoran specializes in Intellectual Property (IP) matters, having brought many IP cases through the trial and appeal process on the federal level. He has an extensive wealth of knowledge about IP law and other federal civil law, as well as civil law under the jurisdiction of the State of Texas.

If you are pursuing either state or federal civil litigation in the Texarkana, TX area, Attorney Peter Corcoran and the team at The Corcoran Law Firm are ready to help. Give yourself the best chance at success by calling Attorney Peter Corcoran today at (903) 945-6808.

Peter Corcoran

Call For A Consultation
(903) 945-6808