Civil Court Cases
A civil court case in one which involves two entities that are not the U.S. government. Civil cases can be between two individuals, an individual and a corporation, or two corporations. Civil court cases differ from criminal court cases in that in criminal cases the defendant is prosecuted by the U.S. government on behalf of the general public for a criminal action whether it be a misdemeanor or a felony. In civil cases there is no criminal activity involved and the government is not involved. Civil cases typically deal with individuals or corporations not fulfilling contracts or obligations made. The cases are either settled by the court ordering one of the parties to stop the action they are being prosecuted for, or by awarding the prosecuting party with "damages" which is typically in the form of monetary compensation.
Small Claims Court
For civil court cases there are two different ways in which it can be tried. Cases involving a corporation are always tried in a court where each party is represented by a lawyer or lawyers. These cases can be tried at either the state level or federal level depending on the charges and circumstances involved. Both parties have the option as well of requesting a jury. If they decide to not have a jury for the trial, the case is heard by the judge. The other option of civil cases is small claims court. Small claims court is run on a city to city basis and neither party is represented by a lawyer. Rather a judge hears both individuals accounts and then decides on what action should be taken.
Civil Court Records
Each civil court case is recorded and stored. In the past all of the court cases were kept in physical storage. There are many reasons for keeping cases as records with the main one being it keeps individuals with past civil offenses accountable. For example, if someone is brought in on a civil charge the judge will likely review their records to see if they are repeat offender. This will play a significant role in how the judge rules the case. Another reason for keeping civil records is to allow citizens to gain knowledge about corporations or individuals they are seeking to do business with. This helps to keep both parties accountable.
Searching Civil Court Cases
With the development of technology civil court cases have become easier than ever to search for. This can be helpful to business owners and individuals who are attempting to engage in business with other individuals and businesses. It is also a helpful tool for landlords to complete background checks on possible tenants. For example a landlord can search to see if a possible tenant has a history of domestic disputes or disturbing the peace. Searching civil court cases is simple. The first step is to go to the PACER website. PACER stands for public access to court electronic records. Once on the website the next step is to create an account. From there it is as simple as searching with the proper keywords. If you have trouble interpreting the court records you find it is advisable to go over them with a lawyer.
Search Background Checks by State
Liens and Tax Liens are usually included in background check reports.