What is a Civil Action?
A civil action, simply defined, is a lawsuit brought to enforce, redress or protect private rights. Most commonly, a civil action is brought for monetary relief. While the definition of a “civil action” is broad enough to include domestic relations cases, which constituted the largest number of cases filed last year in the Maricopa County Superior Court, and probate/mental health and tax cases, those types of actions are classified separately, as well as criminal proceedings. Most civil actions involve claims arising out of breach of contract, motor vehicle accidents, malpractice, or other negligence. The terms “civil action” and “lawsuit” are interchangeable, as both refer to an action or proceeding in a civil court. Starting a Lawsuit. The filing of a complaint with the clerk of the court starts a lawsuit. A complaint is a formal written statement filed by the party who starts the lawsuit (plaintiff), which asserts that party’s claims in the action. When a complaint is filed, the cas