What Does Burden of Proof Mean in Business Litigation
An Orange County business litigation attorney can provide assistance if your company is sued or if your company is going to court to file a civil lawsuit to protect your interests. It is important to understand how civil lawsuits work, regardless of whether you are the plaintiff or you are a defendant, so you can ensure that you do everything possible to prepare for your time in court and to maximize the chances of a positive outcome for your organization.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help. We have extensive courtroom experience representing companies in a wide range of civil cases including breach of contract claims, breach of warranty claims, trade-secrets claims, employment discrimination cases, wage-and-hour claims and more.
We are prepared and ready to help you put together the strongest case possible in any situation where you are seeking a court remedy or fighting to avoid liability. We can also provide assistance if settlement is the best choice, depending upon the nature of the case and the available evidence.
To find out more about how an Orange County business litigation attorney at our firm can assist you, give us a call as soon as possible. One of the many ways that our legal team can help you is to ensure that you know what must be proved, and what the burden of proof is, in your civil case.
What Does Burden of Proof Mean in Business Litigation?
Most people are familiar with the concept of burden of proof in criminal cases. In criminal cases, a prosecutor has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt. The prosecutor in a criminal case has to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This stringent standard is necessary because due process requires that no defendant be penalized in the criminal justice system if a reasonable person could question whether the defendant was guilty of a crime or not, in light of the evidence presented. The criminal justice system could result in harsh penalties for defendants, so it is imperative that the prosecutor have to meet a strong burden of proof.
In civil court, however, the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt does not apply. Instead, a lesser burden applies. Civil Jury Instruction 200 explains the burden of proof applicable in most civil cases. Under the law, a plaintiff has to present evidence to show that, more likely than not, what the plaintiff is asserting is true.
The plaintiff can use many different kinds of evidence, including witness testimony, in order to meet the burden of proof. The specifics of what must be proved vary depending upon the nature of the claim. For example, in a breach of contract claim, the plaintiff would have to prove there was a valid contract which the defendant unjustly failed to comply with. However, in an employment discrimination claim the plaintiff would have to prove unlawful discriminatory behavior.
Regardless of what must be proved in any of these different types of cases, the commonality is that the plaintiff is always going to have the burden to prove the facts of his specific claims against the defendant.
Once the plaintiff has met his or her burden of proof, the defendant has to be able to defend himself if he was unable to introduce doubt as to his liability. If a defendant cannot introduce a sufficient level of doubt regarding whether the plaintiff’s assertions are true or not, the defendant should be found liable.
The defendant can also raise affirmative defense, in addition to or as an alternative from trying to raise questions about the veracity of a plaintiff’s claim. If a defendant decides to raise an affirmative defense, the defendant is essentially saying he did engage in the conduct he has been accused of but that there was justification for the actions taken. A defendant who chooses to raise an affirmative defense will be expected to prove the truth of that defense.
Getting Help from an Orange County Business Litigation Attorney
An Orange County business litigation attorney at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance in understanding what burden of proof means in litigation and what you can to ensure that the plaintiff cannot successfully prevail in court.
To find out more about how our firm can help, give us a call at (866)237-8129 or contact us online today.