General Litigation Newsletters

Appeal of a United States District Court Judgment

The party who loses in a civil lawsuit can file an appeal after a United States District Court, a federal trial court, enters a final judgment in the case. The notice of appeal must be filed with the district court clerk within 30 days after the judgment. The person filing the appeal is called the appellant, and the other party is called the appellee.

Courthouse Security

Courthouse security has been increased since events such as the Oklahoma City bombing of a federal court building and the tragedy of September 11, 2001, which destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The goal of enhanced security is twofold: to assure the safety of people and property in the courthouse and to preserve the integrity of the judicial process. Reasonably safe courthouses must be provided, measures have to be taken to safeguard court records, and a plan must be adopted that would permit the court system to function after an emergency.

Guardianship

A guardian is a person appointed by the court to act on behalf of a person who is considered legally incompetent. A person is presumed to be competent. However, someone can file a petition for guardianship with the court detailing why the person needs a guardian. If the court finds that the person is incapable of making health, personal, or financial decisions due to illness or disability, the court will appoint a guardian. The incompetent person is called a ward.

Joinder of Parties in Civil Lawsuits

A civil lawsuit is a legal action brought in a court by a person who is called the plaintiff. Generally, a lawsuit has one plaintiff who asserts one or more claims against one defendant. However, there are situations in which additional parties can be added to the lawsuit.

Judges' Membership in Discriminatory Organizations

Every state has a code of judicial conduct that sets ethical guidelines for judges. All states have judicial conduct commissions with the power to investigate, prosecute, and decide cases of judicial misconduct. There is also a code of conduct for federal judges. The code of judicial conduct requires a judge to avoid not only impropriety but also the appearance of impropriety. The code of judicial conduct also covers judicial integrity, independence, diligence and impartiality. Membership in discriminatory organizations is currently a controversial topic.