The civil court governs disputes between individuals, as distinguished from the criminal court where actions are brought against individuals by the State. In civil court, a lawsuit is brought by the “plaintiff” against the “defendant,” whereas in criminal court, the action is brought by the State prosecutor on behalf of “the People” against the “accused” (i.e. a person accused of a crime). In civil court, a successful judgment will basically require the defendant to pay monetary damages, whereas in criminal court, a successful prosecution will require the guilty individual to go to jail. Criminal law focuses on crimes, where civil law focuses on civil wrongs and “torts”—an umbrella concept encompassing several areas of law, including negligence, product defects, personal injury, and defamation, as well as contracts, and real property. Civil litigation refers to the process of bringing (or defending) a lawsuit in civil court.
At E. Johnson Law, we have extensive experience in a vast array of civil actions, represent both plaintiffs and defendants, and have experience with both the trial and appellate court levels. The following list provides a sample of the types of lawsuits we have handled:
- Breach of Contract
- Corporate Dissolution & Shareholder Actions
- Insurance Litigation
- Medical Malpractice
- Malicious Prosecution*
- Personal Injury (see more at Personal Injury section)
- Real Estate Disputes
At E. Johnson Law, some of our more notable successes include a $2.5 million lawsuit brought against a developer for breach of partnership, successfully representing business owners in a shareholder action against the corporation to remove incompetent board members, and successfully representing a shareholder and partner in a breach of contract and embezzlement action against corrupt corporate officers where we obtained a $500,000 default judgment and repossessed the officer’s yacht. And on the defense side, we are extremely skilled in using the law to negotiate favorable settlements for our clients, and in several cases we have had entire lawsuits dismissed on procedural grounds.
Whether you are being sued, or believe your rights have been violated by someone else, we can help. Give us a call!
*Defamation & Malicious Prosecution. Defamation is a cause of action based on the publication (whether written or oral) of a false defamatory statement about the plaintiff. Malicious Prosecution is a cause of action brought against another party for initiating a lawsuit against you with malice and without probable cause. These causes of action are unique, because a cause of action for defamation essentially makes a person liable for exercising their right to freedom of speech, and an action for malicious prosecution makes a person liable for exercising their right to file a lawsuit—both of which are forms of “public participation”. In California, there is a specific statute that makes it difficult to bring these types of lawsuits, called the “Anti-SLAPP” statute (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). Essentially, by initiating a defamation and/or malicious prosecution lawsuit, the defendant can immediately file an anti-SLAPP motion (claiming that the plaintiff is simply trying to impair the defendant’s public participation rights), which stops the lawsuit and requires the plaintiff to present evidence supporting their claims. If the plaintiff is unable to substantiate their claims and the defendant prevails on their anti-SLAPP motion, the lawsuit will be dismissed and the plaintiff will be required to pay the defendant’s attorney’s fees and costs.
For these reasons, both defamation and malicious prosecution actions are highly specialized types of lawsuits that most lawyers are unwilling to initiate.
At E. Johnson Law, we have acquired extensive experience with both of these causes of action, at both the trial court and appellate court levels, and have a proven track record of overcoming anti-SLAPP motions. If you believe you have been defamed or that a lawsuit was initiated against you with malice and without probable cause, please give us a call! We’d love to speak with you.