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Plaintiff vs. Defendant○Plaintiff is the one who makes the complaint, saying the defendant did something that negatively affected him○The defendant has to defend himself from the complaint of the plaintiff○A tort is an alleged harmShow, under the existing law, that the defendant had a duty to prevent harm to the plaintiff. We all walk around with a duty not to harm to others1)The plaintiff breached that duty somehow2)That you suffered some damages as a result of this breach of duty3)The plaintiff has to show the following to be able to win:Tort Law1.A contract is a promise between two individuals to do something in the future. It is backed by the force of law.Contract law establishes the elements of a valid contract1)Contract law has to deal with whether a 2)The court has to determine how to read the contract3)What sort of damages should the court impose4)Deals with:Contract Law2.Property is anything that can be legally owned by one person and therefore that person can exclude anyone he or she sees fitIn American law there is a division between real property and personal propertyReal - Land, building, cropsPersonal - everything else. Money, clothes, anything that isn't a building, land or crops.Who is the owner of a piece of property1)Who is allowed to use a given property even though they don’t own it2)Who has the right to dispose of a piece of property. You don’t always have to own something to dispose (sell) it.3)Deals with:Examples are deeds, titles, and rentalsProperty Law 3.Also called probate courtsDeals with the civil legal consequences that arise after someone diesHow do you deal with a persons estate - collection of property that the individual leaves behind along with obligations and debtsEstablishment of a will - a document that explains how a person would like their estate to be handled at his/her time of death. Court doesn’t have to follow this exactly, but it is a huge factor.1)Probate - determining if a will is legal 2)Settling the persons debts. Good wills name an executor that is the accountant of your estate. The executor has to first asses the legal obligations of the deceased - what debts were left behind. He has to sort out the legitimate from the non-legitimate bills. Spouses are the only ones responsible for debts left behind, relatives are not.3)The distribution of estate/property4)Deals with: Estate/Succession Law4.Developed to join a man and woman in marriage and also to deal with the consequences of that union. It is about establishing a partnership.Expanding to homosexual marriage as well.Statutory marriage was handled by church courts. In England there weren't enough priests to do this so common law marriages were added.□Common law marriage - Two individuals would say to the village that they were married. No licenses or priests were involved. The individuals had to meet the requirements of a marriage. In the U.S., 14 state have common law marriage but there is an ongoing battle over legitimacy. If a common law marriage does exist, it has all the rights and responsibilities of a statutory law marriage.□Under English law there was common law and statutory law marriageUntil 1970 fault divorce existed where you could only get a divorce if your spouse went to prison, went insane, was violent, cheated, refused to procreate, was a drunk, etc. You had to convince the court why you should be allowed to break the marriage. This made one person the bag guy, even if the divorce was mutual.In 1969 California created a no fault divorce law where both spouses agree to break up the marriage and there is no battle. Problem is trying to figure out how to split up the money, cars, house, etc.Louisiana has covenant marriage licenses in addition to regular licenses. Covenant licenses require a fault of one of the spouses to have a divorce. There is another step called marital separation where you start to protect your assets in defense of a future divorce.When a marriage can begin and end. □Before the 70s the wife would get a lot more because they weren't expected to work. Husbands sometimes had to pay alimony -support paymentsAfter 1970 more women were working so this expectation went away. Even if they didn’t work there was nothing stopping them from getting a jobSplitting up the assets□The battle over paternity - is this my kid or not. How do you prove who is the dad? Before DNA testing a husband had to prove a child wasn’t his. DNA testing made this much easier. 1.It used to be the wife that got the children but after the 70s it became 50-50 custody.◊Today, if the two parents cant agree, the court has to make an assessment.◊Custody - who gets children after divorce2.Nowadays there is a system that takes in amount of custody and salary and then determines the amount of child support.◊Child support3.Children□Parental termination - when do you terminate the parental rights of a person?□Issus of adoption□Living wills - when do you have a right to die□Family law deals with:Family Law (domestic relations law)5.Civil Law: The BasicsA)Section IIIWednesday, March 02, 20113:33 PM Section III Page 1Living wills - when do you have a right to die□New reproductive technology - artificial insemination□Same sex marriage□Sovereign Immunity - The crown or government couldn’t be sued - they are immuneCivil rights law developed after the civil rights period (1950s) and says if a government actor violates your civil rights, you can then sueCivil Rights Law6.(look for any of these next steps in A Civil Action)○Most cases don’t get all 10 steps because most cases don’t go to trial○A decision rule that determines how a court comes to a conclusionEasiestMiddleHardestPreponderance of the evidenceClear and convincing evidenceBeyond a reasonable doubtCivil casesCivil casesCriminal casesPreponderance of the evidence - the side that judge/jury believes more winsBeyond a reasonable doubt - you have to believe every aspect of a prosecutor's case beyond a reasonable doubt - the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Reasonable doubt it left up to the juror. The stakes are higher in criminal cases, thus higher amounts of evidence is requiredClear and convincing - less than a reasonable doubt but more than a preponderance of the evidence. Used in parental termination cases, juvenile delinquency cases. Up to the law making body to decide its

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WVU POLS 210 - Civil Law: The Basics

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