General Litigation Newsletters
Courts are created by statute. Their jurisdiction or authority is limited to the areas specified by the law, together with the inherent powers possessed by all courts. Inherent powers are powers reasonably necessary for the administration of justice. They are powers considered essential to the existence and proper functioning of the court. This article discusses a court's inherent power to regulate the judicial system, to regulate the practice of law, and to adopt court rules.
The losing party in a civil lawsuit can file an appeal after the state trial court enters a final judgment in the case. Generally, a notice of appeal has to be filed within 30 days after a judgment. The person who files the appeal is called the appellant, and the other party is called the appellee.
A litigant can file an appeal after a United States District Court, which is the federal trial court, enters a final judgment in the case. The person filing the appeal is called the appellant, and the other party is called the appellee. This article discusses the steps in the federal appellate procedural process when a case is appealed from the United States District Court to the United States Court of Appeals.
A trial begins with opening statements by the attorneys for the litigants (the parties in the lawsuit). The plaintiff (the party suing) has the burden of proof in the case. This means the plaintiff must prove the allegations in his/her complaint in order to win the case. The standard of proof in a civil lawsuit is a preponderance of the evidence (the facts are more in favor of the plaintiff than the defendant, the party being sued.) In a criminal prosecution, the government is the plaintiff. The government has to prove a criminal defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
There are 13 judicial circuits, and each circuit has a court of appeals. The federal courts of appeals are intermediate appellate courts. They hear appeals from federal district courts, which are trial level courts. In response to the ever-increasing volume of cases, some federal courts of appeals have adopted settlement programs in an effort to reduce the backlog of cases and accelerate the appeal process.