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Civil litigation

Civil litigation is the legal process (usually in court, but also in arbitration or mediation) in which civil disputes involving money and property rights are resolved—usually by a judge, jury, or arbitrator.

Civil litigation is in contrast to criminal litigation in which a prosecutor—representing a city, state, or the federal government—prosecutes a person or entity for criminal acts (crimes) with punishment ranging from fines and penalties to jail or prison time and death sentences.

In Texas, civil litigation encompasses the legal proceedings where parties seek to resolve non-criminal disputes in a formal setting. This can involve disputes over contracts, property, personal injury, and other issues where the plaintiff seeks monetary damages or specific performance rather than criminal sanctions. Civil cases in Texas can be heard by a judge or a jury, depending on the circumstances and the preferences of the parties involved. The process may also include pre-trial procedures such as discovery, where parties exchange information pertinent to the case. Texas also encourages alternative dispute resolution methods like arbitration and mediation to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom. Unlike criminal litigation, where the state prosecutes individuals or entities for violations of criminal law, civil litigation is typically between private parties, though the government can also be a party in civil cases. The outcomes of civil litigation can include financial compensation, injunctions, or declaratory judgments, but do not involve criminal penalties such as imprisonment or probation.

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