Chapter Review - 3
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is any formal or informal process to settle disputes
without a trial. Mediation, arbitration, and other forms of ADR are growing in popularity.
There are many
of courts, one federal and one in each state. A federal court
will hear a case only if it involves a federal question or diversity jurisdiction.
Trial courts determine facts and apply the law to the facts; appeals courts generally
accept the facts found by the trial court and review the trial record for errors of law.
A complaint and an answer are the two most important pleadings, that is, documents
that start a lawsuit.
Discovery is the critical pre-trial opportunity for both parties to learn the strengths and
weaknesses of the opponent’s case. Important forms of discovery include interrogatories,
depositions, production of documents and objects, physical and mental examinations, and
requests for admission.
A motion is a formal request to the court.
Summary judgment is a ruling by the court that no trial is necessary because there are
no essential facts in dispute.
Generally, both plaintiff and defendant may demand a jury in any lawsuit for money
is the process of selecting jurors in order to obtain an impartial panel.
The plaintiff’s burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is preponderance of the evidence,
meaning that its version of the facts must be at least slightly more persuasive than the
defendant’s. In a criminal prosecution, the government must offer proof beyond a
reasonable doubt in order to win a conviction.
The rules of evidence determine what questions may be asked during trial, what
testimony may be given, and what documents may be introduced.
The verdict is the jury’s decision in a case. The losing party may ask the trial judge to
overturn the verdict, seeking a judgment
non obstante veredicto
or a new trial. Judges
seldom grant either.
An appeals court has many options. The court may affirm, upholding the lower court’s
decision; modify, changing the verdict but leaving the same party victorious; reverse,
transforming the loser into the winner; and/or remand, sending the case back to the lower
Chapter Review - 7
The five elements of negligence are duty of due care, breach, factual causation,
foreseeable type of harm, and injury.
If the defendant could foresee that misconduct would injure a particular person, he
probably has a duty to her.
In most states, a landowner’s duty of due care is lowest to trespassers; often higher to
children; higher still to a licensee (anyone on the land for her own purposes but with the