Understanding Civil Lawsuits in Northeast Ohio

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Understanding Civil Lawsuits in Northeast Ohio

What is civil litigation? The difference between civil litigation and criminal cases is that in civil cases one or both of the parties is seeking money or another form of compensation rather than criminal charges.

Civil lawsuits in Northeast Ohio cover the gamut of personal or business situations from eviction or foreclosure to family law matters such as divorce or custody. Filing for bankruptcy or being sued because of damage to property or personal harm. All these are cases will find their way into a civil courtroom to be heard by a judge or magistrate.

How Are Civil Lawsuits Different?

If you find yourself being sued in civil court or a situation arises where you need to engage the services of an experienced civil law attorney, here is some basic background information that you should be aware of.

Civil Suits Can Be Brought By Anyone – A person or business who has allegedly suffered harm or damage usually instigates a civil case. In contrast, a criminal case is brought by a prosecutor or other attorney representing the local government.

The Burden of Proof is “Lighter” in a Civil Case – The “burden of proof” in a civil case—what must be shown for the defendant to be held liable for what the plaintiff is alleging—is “by a preponderance of the evidence,” meaning it is more likely than not that what the plaintiff is alleging is what happened. In a criminal case, the government must show the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a much tougher standard to meet.

The Loser in a Civil Case Pays in Dollars – What’s at stake in a civil lawsuit can usually be measured in money. The plaintiff is asking the court to make a judgment in the plaintiff’s favor, and if such a judgment is made it is usually accompanied by a court order entitling the plaintiff to a certain amount of money (called a damages award) to be paid by the defendant.

Types of Civil Lawsuits

There are many different types of civil lawsuits that the civil litigators at Manning & Clair handled for Cleveland-area clients. Here are examples of some of the most common civil cases:

Contract Disputes

Contract disputes occur when one or more parties who signed a contract cannot or will not fulfill their obligations. Occasionally, this is due to a contract that is written in fuzzy terms that creates disparate expectations in the signers, but usually it is because one party overextends itself and doesn’t have the money or employees to fulfill their obligations.

Property Disputes

Property law involves disputes about property ownership and damages to one person’s property or real estate. There are many different types of property disputes that a civil litigation attorney may handle. One common one is property line disputes, in which one party alleges that a neighbor crossed the property line boundary between their two homes for building or planting.


A tort is a civil case in which one party alleges that another caused them physical or emotional harm. Tort cases can take many different forms, and can relate to a person’s personal safety, safety of their property, and financial security. Common torts related to accident and injury include assault or battery cases, and negligence cases in which one party alleges that a caregiver did not do their assigned duty.

The Manning & Clair Difference

Manning & Clair Attorneys At Law have extensive experience dealing with civil litigation. Our skill and knowledge will go to work for you in your civil case.

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Manning & Clair Note: The information shared here is intended for a general overview and discussion of the subject. It is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation.